Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)

Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) Cover

Minions: The Rise of Gru is the sequel to 2015’s awful spin-off film titled Minions (which are both directed by Kyle Banda) and I’m surprised to say this film was just as sour; but if you did like the 2015 film you will probably like this one as it's more of the same. The Rise of Gru was not my cup of tea but it has some qualities that will appeal to young children (the film’s target audience). The flick is fast-paced and thankfully a short hour and a half. The visuals are top notch and compliment the action-packed story. Additionally, the humor is beyond silly and lots of children were laughing in the theater I saw this in. There’s also a fair amount of catchy tunes. Unfortunately, The Rise of Gru doesn’t have any substantial message / real character growth (I get that isn’t the point of these films) but what it offers is elementary lackluster humor (that only kids will find amusing) and it didn't give me enough to appreciate.

It’s the 1970’s and young Gru (Steve Carell) wants to join his favorite super villain group, known as the Viciscious 6, when a spot opens up for a new villain after the sinister group abandons its founding member, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin). Gru must go in for an interview and after a zany encounter with the vicious group of villains, the Minions and Gru embark on a wild adventure to stay alive and learn the importance of friendship, acceptance, and rejection. Despite these well-intentioned themes, the film barely scratches the surface of them. 

If The Rise of Gru had made me laugh more, I could speak more highly of it but unfortunately the primary issue I have with this kid’s flick and the reason why I didn’t enjoy the film is that it is full of unclever humor we’ve all seen before that feels as if it didn’t take much thought to develop and was executed via hollow underdeveloped stock characters, especially these laughable villains. Some examples of humor that fell flat for me included the infamous puss-in-boots sad eyes face is used to persuade, there’s buttcracks of Minions and young Gru placed specifically for chuckles, offering the flight attendant peanut shells and candy for an airplane ticket, and a montage of the Minions dressing up as pilots and flying a plane by pushing buttons on the plane in sync to Johann Strauss II’s, “The Blue Danube Waltz” (the song used recently in Squid Game that goes ba-da-da-da-da-da-da, ba-da-da-da-da-da-da). One part I will admit that did make me laugh is when one of the characters is acting as if he was having a heart attack to create a diversion for a bank robbery and then a nurse jolts in with a defibrillator to shock this character who is perfectly fine and he’s like, “No it’s okay, I’m fine!” and proceeds to get shocked multiple times. Unfortunately, there wasn’t too many moments that got a laugh out of me.

The plot is extremely underwhelming; the Vicious 6 want a new member because the founder was too old. Why do they have to hire a new replacement so soon? Can’t they just be the Vicious 5? The villains were extremely silly, non-threatening, had uncompelling motivations, and were underdeveloped. There’s another scene where Gru is kidnapped and his kidnapper is about to be eaten by a crocodile and Gru decides to save this guy merely because the man is his favorite villain. It feels as if the film didn’t care enough to try to write a plot where actions that characters take make sense. Since its a kids movie you can probably predict how this will end and it's up to the audience to wait and see what wild choices screenwriters decided to go with.

The movie is very sporadic with its storytelling. There’s a side quest where minions must learn Kung-Fu from an elder who (as a gag) surprises everyone, the audience included, with her fighting abilities. There’s another side quest for one of the minions to retrieve a rare medallion that accidentally gets into the wrong hands and the way he succeeds is by passing out in the summer heat, the guy he is trying to reach notices the minion, lets him have the medallion, and then gives this creature he’s never met before a ride…it just felt like strings were being stretched to get characters where they needed them to be without thought to if the plot would feel organic. 

If you’re stuck between Lightyear and Minions: The Rise of Gru, go with Lightyear; it’s more slickly crafted, has an intriguing plot, themes both kids and adults will appreciate, and the humor was more comical. If you have already seen Lightyear or the kids really want to go see Minions, it may be worth venturing out for the kids’ entertainment but I don’t believe there’s much that adults will admire. Luckily, I give points to Minions for being short and fast-paced. And if you’re not set on an animated movie, go check out The Black Phone! Ultimately, Minions: The Rise of Gru is an uninspired smorgasbord adventure of mediocre humor and an underdeveloped story.

Final Verdict:Minions: The Rise of Gru is an uninspired smorgasbord adventure of mediocre humor and an underdeveloped story.