Back in 2010, Despicable Me managed to rake in over $540 million at the worldwide box office, so a sequel was nothing less than inevitable. The original's directors and most of its all-star cast has returned, bringing with them a few more recognisable (and not so recognisable in some cases) voice talents, and wisely putting front-and-centre what proved to be the real hit of the movie: The Minions.
It appears hardly any time has passed in the movie's universe since Gru (Steve Carrell) gave up being a super villain to raise his three adopted daughters; the eldest Margo has just discovered boys, the youngest Agnes really REALLY wants a mother, while middle child Edith - like most middle children - has mostly been forgotten about (both by Gru and the film-makers). Meanwhile, a secret new super villain has got his hands on a formula that can turn things into monsters, so the government recruits Gru to work undercover for them. Believing the bad guy has set up shop in a local mall, he pretends to run a cake store with Agent Wilde (Kristen Wiig) while investigating his fellow store owners, any one of which may be the nefarious plotster.
As you may have gathered, the story is a bit scattershot and slightly lacking the finesse of, say, The Incredibles. What it does have is The Funnies, and it has it in spades. There is an absolute cracker of a joke almost every other minute, and even more incredibly, they're equally aimed at the kids and at the parents. For every gag about a fart gun, there's a spot-on reference to The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.
The voice acting is spot-on for the most part - some actors such as Ken Jeong and Steve Coogan are left with very little to do - with Carrell and Wiig both brilliantly hilarious, and Benjamin Bratt (replacing original choice Al Pacino) perfect as the "is he/isn't he?" bad guy. Visually fantastic and featuring a clap along soundtrack by Pharrell Williams, there's a whole lot to enjoy here.
An absolutely perfect family film.