Gru and crew are back in Despicable Me 3

Gru and crew are back but can they heist enough laughs to keep this franchise going?

Riding the retro wave, Despicable Me 3 kicks off with one hell of an 80’s vibe even pulling out some MJ into the mix. Balthazar Bratt is a former child star whose show was abruptly cancelled when puberty hit. As a result, he’s bitterly taken on his supervillian persona for real and it’s up to Gru et al at the Anti-Villain League (AVL) to stop him. Bratt uses all that the 80’s has to offer in his arsenal; Rubiks cube weaponry, action figures, mullet haircut and killer dance moves – all accompanied by some ace tuneage to boot.

However, as great a villain as he is, the makers of the film obviously didn’t think that Gru vs Bratt would be enough so there’s a secondary storyline here. Gru discovers he has a long-lost brother who appears on the surface not to have the same attraction to the bad side of life as Gru but soon we discover there is indeed more than meets the eye. And then there’s the little Minions, they too have their own storyline going on which while it is entertaining, it’s just too separate from the main action. The little yellow guys are however fun to watch and excellently punctuated by Pharrell Williams’ soundtrack – specifically the catchy track ‘Freedom’. I think the film really should have decided to do either a supervillain battle or the family reunion but not both as neither get the time they deserve here.

Bratt, voiced by South Park’s Trey Parker, is the highlight of the film throughout with his scene stealing dance fights and punchy comedic dialogue. Steve Carell voices both Gru and his twin brother Dru and there are some fun moments and Carell is still a colourful and fun voice talent. Kirsten Wig returns as Lucy and has some cute moments in her new found role as step mom but again there’s just too much going on for things to fully take flight.

All in all this is a fun family movie with some great standout moments, mainly when Bratt is on screen, but with all it’s subplots it just lacks the focus of previous franchise frolics.

Despicable Me 3 is out in NZ Cinemas now.

Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.

3 stars