Despicable M3: Film Review
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Minions gibberish
Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Third time's less of the charm for Illumination's animated antics in this latest outing for Gru and the gang.
In Despicable Me 3 (stylised as Despicable M3), Gru and Lucy (Carell and Wiig respectively) are kicked out of the anti-villains league when they fail to stop 80s obsessed former child star and wannabe crimelord Balthazar Bratt (South Park's Trey Parker) from stealing one of the world's largest diamonds.
Suffering from a crisis of faith, Gru discovers he has a twin brother, Dru (also played by Carell), who's the opposite to Gru's villain.
When the pair finally meet, Gru's jealous of Dru's seemingly successful lifestyle. But he's shocked to find out that Dru just wants to be a villain as that's all their father ever wanted for his son...
Will Gru re-embrace his dark side?
Feeling distinctly flat and disappointingly disparate, Despicable M3 lacks the zaniess and the bite of prior outings.
While the 80s nostalgia vibe may help the older end of the audience feel a little jaded and satiated at the thought of a fourth film with the Minions.
Wiig feels particularly underused as the surrogate mother and the separate threads involving dispirited minions, the kids, Gru / Dru's antics don't quite seem to gel as well as they should.
It helps little that the animation which had such zing before looks great but delivers little in terms of memorable moments; it's slickly produced but its sweetly sentimental edges don't really bring the feels that it should this time around.
Granted, the children in the audience may well enjoy the brief interludes (though the shoe-horning in of Sing, another Illumination property is almost as bad as any product placement from Michael Bay's outings), but there aren't enough of them to keep everyone entertained.
There are flashes of visual brilliance though, such as when Gru and Dru raid the villain's lair (there's plenty of fun to be had in being bad) - and the 80s obsessed Bratt is a non-stop laugh-fest of nostalgia and desperation all wrapped up in one go, but these are fleeting moments few and sadly far in between, making you desperately miss the kinetic silliness that's been on show before.
All in all, Despicable M3 is pretty much a formulaic piece of CGI animation for the school hols - there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but the fact it betrays the very best of what the Despicable Me series could offer and distills it down into a series of mere moments is nothing short of a crying shame.