Starring the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeung and Nasim Pedrad.
Directed by Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud.
Maybe it's because summer is perfectly programmed to the largest common denominators, focussed-grouped and refined to such a point that we're getting what we're getting. Maybe it's because studios have faith in what they're putting in the summer to be somewhat good, so they're not jettisoning them to January. Maybe I appreciate the air conditioning and comfy seats. I find myself "kinda liking" everything I see in theaters lately.
I liked the first one. It was a pleasant surprise. It was the Dr. Evil movie, but if Dr. Evil suddenly had three cute orphans dropped on his doorstep. Gru grew in the first movie, so where does he go from here?
Part 2 is about Dr. Evil becoming Austin Powers. Now that Gru has retired from his evil ways, the Anti-Villain League wants to recruit him to work for them. The cranky Gru thinks about it, looks at his girls, and decides this would be a good thing.
The visual work here is impressive. The opening sequence is like any great Bond movie, with the camera swooping and racing after the action (in fact I noticed more than one nod to The Incredibles). The Minions get more screen time for the childish jokes, i.e. giggling at the name of the AVL head Silas Ramsbottom. (They also have a drinking song, which is a highlight.) There's a lot of physical humor here worthy of Chuck Jones, and I can't help but think he was part of the inspiration in the design of a few of these characters. El Macho has a giant upper body but short and skinny legs reminiscent of Yosemite Sam or Witch Hazel, for instance.
So yes, it's worthy family fare.