Meet Balthazar Bratt, played by South Park creator Trey Parker. He's a villain who used to be a child star until he grew braces, acne and beards. The show he used to play on was him as a villain himself, and when the media found out he was just a bad person, he never worked in showbiz again. Now he works in stealing priceless artifacts with his sound wave keyboard-guitars and expanding bubble gum. When he escapes when Gru and Lucy, now married, try to catch him, they are fired from the AVL. Gru and Lucy try to find new jobs, but the Minions are beginning to miss the good old days of stealing, blasting and triggering the fart gun, so they decide to leave for somewhere new. Then Gru finds out he had a twin brother his mom (who's played once again by the timeless and perfectly-acting-as-a-Russian Julie Andrews) kept secret from him after she split up with her husband. And Dru wants to pull the perfect heist with his lost brother's help. Can Gru find a way to have fun in the world again without losing the family he has earned?
Even though I wasn't a big fan of Despicable Me or Despicable Me 2, I ended up surprisingly enjoying the highly underrated Minions spin-off so much that I was looking forward to this third instalment. The first one in my opinion was too awkward for too long, even though by the end it was very heartwarming. The second movie then felt like it wasn't evil or really big on its spy story enough. But geez louise, I waited patiently for this movie after the much better Minions and it ends up over so fast I almost couldn't believe the end credits. And let me explain why in this case finishing quick was bad.
The longest 3D animated movie to this date is The Incredibles at an hour and fifty-five minutes. There are also Japanese 2D films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke that are a little over two hours. So Despicable Me 3 does have the typical 85 minutes, and this movie has grossed a billion dollars by now against a budget of only 80 million so I guess what it does is successful. But what it does is compact itself into so many storylines you can feel like every screenwriter who ever worked at Illumination wanted a say in what happened for the third outing, and the result is a cluttered blink of a film.
So what are all the subplots? Lucy tries to be a mom? Okay. Even though she's cheerful and protective, it's still kind of fun seeing her go mama bear. Gru and Dru having complications about what to do with the diamond when they steal it back? Makes sense. Agnes believes in unicorns and is trying to find one? Um...alright. The Minions have abandoned Gru and are now trying to get by either on the street or in jail? Margo ends up in a bit of a tightrope with some chubby show-offy French guy? Oh, c'mon, we didn't need another crush for Margo as well, did we? No wonder Dr. Nefario ends up frozen in ice. You can almost feel the horde of ideas end up spilling through the door crack.
Look, the movie is still at parts kind of fun. There's a car chase with what looks like a cross between the Batmobile and Goldfinger's automobile, and it's shot with real kinetic camerawork. The minions' prison escape is inventive, if unrealistic, but the first Despicable Me movie had Gru punch a shark. These movies are meant to be goofy. I'm not going to call expanding bubble gum where one piece is the equivalent of 20 parachutes a flaw. Balthazar Bratt also manages to more than once trick us. One involves hints of it and I picked up on that but I didn't put two and two together until it was too late. That was pretty fun.
I also felt the idea of Gru and Dru conflicted about what to do an intriguing idea. Think the Superhero father and the evil Grandpapi from Nickelodeon's El Tigre fighting over a jewel only with more substance and personal elements. But this idea is not utilized enough because everything else gets in the way, with not enough time before the end credits. If you like the Despicable Me films, I commend you. But this grumpy man has opinions that will ruin your day.