Movies get made for one of three reasons: to make a buck, to fulfill a creative vision, or because if they didn’t get made, you would essentially be leaving money on the table.
“Despicable Me 3” falls squarely in that third category because there isn’t really much more of a reason for this movie to exist.
This wildly popular franchise began as mildly subversive family entertainment, as we followed the exploits of a supervillain (Gru, voiced by Steve Carell), who becomes moderately decent when three adoptive daughters come into his life.
There was a freshness and zip of originality to the first movie and the second one didn’t drop off too much, as it explored the tension of a bad-guy gone good and introduced a fun love interest (Lucy, voiced by Kristen Wiig) for Gru.
Even Gru’s Minions had a successful spinoff as the bizarro, banana-loving, mayhem-makers got to branch out on their own.
These movies all made a ton of money and “Despicable Me 3” was an inevitability. The problem is this feels like a middling episode of a favorite television show as opposed to a major cinematic event.
This time around, Gru meets his long-lost twin brother Dru (also voiced by Carell), who wants him to return to villainy — kinda. Also floating around is Gru’s adversary Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a former child actor turned supervillain, whose fashion sense is stuck in the ’80s.
The problem with “Despicable Me 3” is most of the plot is half-baked and it heavily relies on the strength of the characters to pull it across the finish line. Of course, it doesn’t help the girls get relegated to some pretty lame B-stories, while the Minions are shoved almost completely to the sidelines.
This is not to say this movie is devoid of an inspired moment or two. I especially liked it when the Minions unexpectedly found themselves on a reality singing competition show.
But combine all of this with a trim 90-minute run time, you are left asking, “That was it?”, as the credits roll.
I suppose you could say “Despicable Me 3” is a victim of the precedent set by the other films in the franchise, as this movie isn’t really bad as much as it is disappointing.
It just would have been nice if everyone had tried a little bit harder on their way to cashing their checks at the bank.
“Despicable Me 3” is rated PG for action and rude humor.