Despicable Me 2

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Despicable Me 2 Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
More minions and romance make for a sweet, silly sequel.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 51 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 125 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

As with the first movie, kids will learn that all families aren't alike and that even if you think you're ugly and undesirable, that's not true, and there are people who will appreciate and love you.

Positive Messages

The strong bond between fathers and daughters is stressed, as is the importance of open communication between parents and children, as well as romantic partners. Gru's love story shows that even people who consider themselves unlovable can find love. That said, some have criticized the way that Gru's potential dates are depicted (either unattractive or plastic surgery-enhanced) and how the movie makes it seem that Gru and the girls need a wife/mother to complete their family. But Gru was actually perfectly happy raising the girls with just his minions as helpers and wasn't "looking" for a wife. And Lucy is a remarkable woman who fits in with the family because she and Gru respect each other, not "just" because she's a woman.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Gru is a great dad: He's protective, compassionate, and sweet and will stop at nothing to make sure that his girls are safe. Dr. Nefario redeems himself by making it clear that Gru and the girls are his family. The sisters adore their dad and are good to each other. Lucy sees past Gru's aloof exterior to the kind of father he is to the girls. With teamwork and smarts, Gru and the girls save the world from an army of mutated minions. The owner of a Mexican restaurant is depicted somewhat stereotypically.

Violence & Scariness

Because Gru is happy and no longer a supervillain, there's not as much violence this time around. There are cartoonish scenes in which Gru and his minions are tasered, but the only "real" violence is near the end, when (possible spoiler alert!) the minions are transformed into purple killing machines (although strangely still cute) that can destroy everything around them. Lucy is taken hostage. The minions become weapons, and Gru and the girls must use antidote-filled guns to turn them back into the harmless yellow creatures we all love. The bad guy threatens Gru with knives. A chicken has a vendetta against Gru and Lucy.

Sexy Stuff

Gru goes on a date. Gru and Lucy fall in love and kiss. Young Margo falls for Antonio, and the two dance and hold hands.

Language

Mild insults like "nutjob," "sheep's butt," and "Gruties" (a mix of "Gru" and "cooties").

Consumerism

No product placement in the movie, but Despicable Me (especially the minions) has plenty of merchandise tie-ins and even a big ride at Universal Studios Orlando.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Despicable Me 2, the sequel to 2010's hit supervillain adventure Despicable Me, features gadgets and weapons like the original, but now with the aim of stopping "evil" instead of perpetrating it. There's a romantic subplot between Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig), an Anti-Villain League agent. Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) has her first crush and boyfriend as well, although both couples mostly flirt and stare at each other (the adults do kiss). Language is mild ("nutjob," "sheep's butt"), and the violence is cartoonish and silly but does include biological weapons and a taser gun. Mexican restaurant owner Eduardo is depicted somewhat stereotypically (his restaurant is Salsa and Salsa, he has a pet chicken he calls el pollito, and he throws a lavish Cinco de Mayo party). Otherwise, this is a minions-filled animated adventure for the entire family.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMaria L. June 26, 2017

Extremely Innapropriate. Not for kids. Or teens. Only adults.

Oh My Gosh! This movie is innaproriate. I pre screen every PG movie 10 year old Lisa wants to see. She can see a couple PG movies but a lot are 13+ to me. I we... Continue reading
Parent Written byTrishBarnes August 29, 2013

What about the drugged date sequence?

In this movie, Gru goes on a date with a woman who looks and talks like a stereotypical 'valley girl' or, let's just say it, an adult-film actres... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydoglovergirlie March 27, 2018

Eeek!

OK, the first bit of the movie, great. I loved Lucy and can sympathize with Margo. But the rest! I am not usually very sensitive, but I hate monsters and needle... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byUnicornGirl July 11, 2013

Too many minions. Lots of innuendo. Scary scenes.

This movie was ok, but not as good as the first. Why? Too. Many. Minions. I just about died after the first half hour whenever I saw one of those little yellow... Continue reading

What's the story?

In DESPICABLE ME 2, retired supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) lives happily with his three girls -- Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher) -- their trusty minions, and Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), who's developing a line of jams and jellies for the family to sell. Then one day, a mysterious woman named Lucy (Kristen Wiig) kidnaps Gru and takes him to the underwater headquarters of the Anti-Villain League, where director Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) explains that a dangerous bioweapon that can turn living creatures into purple killing machines has been stolen by a supervillain whom they believe is hiding at the Paradise Mall. The AVL wants Gru to infiltrate the mall and find out which shop owner has plans for world domination. Gru reluctantly agrees and poses as a cupcake baker, with Lucy his partner. Gru suspects the mall's Mexican restaurant owner, Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), but becomes irrational when Margo falls for Eduardo's smooth-talking son, Antonio (Moises Arias). Meanwhile, Agnes desperately wants Gru to fall in love with Lucy so she'll have a mother, and the minions keep disappearing. Gru must once again the save the day, with the girls at his side.

Is it any good?

The directors here have made an entertaining (albeit less revolutionary) sequel that's worthy of the hype, particularly when it comes to the minions. The first Despicable Me was such a revelation: A supervillain antihero meeting three adorable orphans seemed like it would be hard to beat in originality. The quirky little yellow minions are irresistibly hilarious, and they steal virtually every scene they're in with their banana-loving, mischief-making shenanigans -- culminating in a laugh-aloud minion cover of the '90s ballad "I Swear" (a lovely bit of nostalgia for parents who grew up in the '80s and '90s). In addition to the fantastically funny minions and the once again wonderfully unique score by Pharrell Williams and Heitor Pereira, the plot is simple but sweet. Wiig's Lucy and Carell's Gru share a bantering chemistry that's definitely not the "damsel in distress meets her prince" dynamic of so many other animated romances.

Ultimately, the Despicable Me movies are about family, and that's what makes them so easy to love. Gru is now a father first, spy/retired supervillain second. His girls are his everything, and when Margo's heart is broken by Antonio (the ultimate cool tween, with his floppy hair and leather jacket), or when Agnes (who rivals Monsters, Inc.'s Boo as the cutest animated child ever) can't recite a poem about motherhood, he's there with a kind word and an encouraging hug. Forget Daddy Warbucks -- Gru is the best bald adoptive dad in popular culture! Even the scenes of mild peril will obviously end up all right, because audiences know that a super dad will do anything for his kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how sequels typically compare to the original movies. Do you think Despicable Me 2 is as good as Despicable Me? What other sequels live up to their predecessors?

  • How does the cartoon action in this movie compare to others you've seen? Does this kind of media violence have more or less impact than what's in live-action movies? Why?

  • Some critics have called the depiction of restaurant owner Eduardo stereotypical. Do you agree? Why or why not?

  • How do the characters in Despicable Me 2 demonstrate communication and compassion? Why are these important character strengths?

  • How do the two romances in the movie compare to each other? In what ways does Gru's experience with Lucy help him understand Margo's situation with Antonio?

Movie details

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