Minions: The Rise of Gru is the real prequel to Despicable Me. Minions was cute, but it was a stretch to give the title characters their own movie. They needed a good villain to follow and Scarlet Overkill wasn’t it. The Rise of Gru is proof that a young Gru should’ve been around from the start. Child Gru was previously seen in flashbacks, but this time Steve Carell voices him throughout the entire movie. Which also means the return of Julie Andrews as Gru’s mother, Russell Brand as a young Dr. Nefario, and other surprise appearances that bring the franchise full circle. Gru is an aspiring supervillain who gradually learns to accept help from the Minions. Kevin, Stuart, and Bob are still the main trio of Minions, but they’re also joined by chunky braces wearing Minion Otto.
Pierre Coffin continues to voice the Minions, but he doesn’t direct this time around. The Rise of Gru now takes place in the 1970’s with even more jokes that will go over kids heads. It’s basically an homage of cheesy Kung Fu flicks, spy films, and 70’s music. Gru aspires to join the supervillain team the Vicious 6. Taraji P. Henson voices the afro-sporting leader Belle Bottoms, Jean-Claude Van Damme voices the lobster claw wearing Jean Clawed, Lucy Lawless voices the evil nun Nunchuck, Dolph Lundgren voices the rollerblading Svengeance, and Danny Trejo voices the metal handed Stronghold. It’s an impressive cast, but they’re all pretty one note villains. The missing sixth member is Alan Arkin as Wild Knuckles, the original leader who gets betrayed and ends up kidnapping Gru.
It’s up to the Minions to save their mini boss and recover an ancient Chinese artifact called the Zodiac Stone. Otto goes after the stone on a tricycle and the trio get into more hilarious antics. Including flying a plane and learning Kung Fu from a master who could only be voiced by Michelle Yeoh. The climax is one of the more creative in the franchise since the Vicious 6 are transformed into vicious animals and the Minions are transformed into adorable animals. The Rise of Gru was supposed to come out back in 2020, but it was postponed due to the Pandemic. In that time I got tired of seeing the same trailers and LEGO sets over and over again. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the prequel/sequel, but Minions: The Rise of Gru is the best installment since Despicable Me 2.
Preceded by: Minions