Despicable Me 3

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Despicable Me 3 Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
"Threequel" has more action, strong sibling relationships.
  • PG
  • 2017
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 76 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids will learn the value of friendship, siblings, and families -- and that not all families are alike.

Positive Messages

Not all families are alike, and that's OK/great. You might think you're "useless" or a "loser," but that's not true, and there are people who will appreciate, encourage, and support you. Strong themes about sibling and parent-child relationships, as well as teamwork, communication, and the idea that if you pay attention and work hard, you can accomplish something (even though that something might be stealing -- albeit from a thief). Some crude humor.

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. Lucy is trying to be a good mother to the girls, and she's brave and capable (even more so than Dru and Gru). The sisters adore their dad and are good to one another and Lucy. Dru and Gru develop a strong brotherly bond. Even though they fight, they love and defend each other. Dru does encourage Gru to return to his villainous ways, which isn't role model behavior. The cast isn't particularly diverse.

Violence & Scariness

A villain uses multiple '80s-themed weapons, including robotic action figures, enlarged chewing gum that can incapacitate people, and aircraft. Lots of action, chases, and explosions. In one scene, it looks like Dru will fall on spikes surrounding the villain's lair. Many people are in danger in Hollywood when the villain unleashes his anger.

Sexy Stuff

Gru and Lucy are married and affectionate with each other. Margo unknowingly participates in an engagement ceremony in a foreign country, and the boy wants to date his "future bride." A weapon causes Gru's -- and, much later, the villain's -- clothes to fall off; they're naked, but viewers only see skin in a blur, and then their bodies are partly covered by chewing gum. A few minions show parts of their butts. In one jokey scene, a minion is wearing a Hawaiian coconut bikini top, which pops off. It reveals nothing but smooth yellow skin, but the minion next to him covers the skin anyhow.


A few insults -- "loser," "failure," "screw up" -- plus "boobs" in minion-ese.


No product placements in the movie, but Despicable Me (especially the minions) has plenty of merchandise tie-ins -- toys, games, apparel, accessories, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Dru, Gru, and Lucy have wine glasses in front of them at dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Despicable Me 3 is the third installment in the hit Despicable Me franchise about reformed supervillain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his new wife, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), who are both Anti-Villain League agents. This time around, Gru, Lucy and their three girls are invited to Freedonia to meet Gru's long-lost twin brother, Dru (also Carrell). While the violence is mostly cartoonish and silly (think super-sized, sticky chewing gum; violent action figures, and dart guns), it does include high-tech weapons and a destructive super-sized robot with lasers. There are plenty of chases and explosions, and generally it feels a bit heavier on action than the previous movies. Language is mild ("loser," "failure," and "screw up," plus "boobs" in Minion-ese), but the minions occasionally look partially nude (buttocks, etc.), as do Gru and the movie's villain after a weapon blows off their clothes, leaving them strategically covered in pink bubble gum. As with all the Despicable Me films, you can expect strong messages about the power of family and friendship, as well as teamwork and communication. Lucy is a positive female role model, but the cast isn't particularly diverse otherwise.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJsivaches July 9, 2017

The minions weren't needed.

This was actually a pretty good movie with good characters though the minion half of the plot was unneeded. I'm not saying that becuase I hate minions (eve... Continue reading
Adult Written bymeydiana.rizki November 9, 2020

I really enjoyed it

Despicable Me 3 is my personal 2nd favorite in the series. There are parts of what made the first so amazing and each part shot into one of the sequels and I th... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bysillysasha123 July 25, 2017

DEFINITELY a "Threequel" but still enjoyable

Saw this with my family the other day, and we all agreed that while the movie was enjoyable enough, it definitely felt like the typical "third" instal... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 16, 2017

Fun Family Film

I LOVE the Despicable Me/ Minion movies. I was really excited for this movie, because of all the advertisements and the previous films. I don't know if it... Continue reading

What's the story?

In DESPICABLE ME 3, Anti-Villain League agents Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are now married. They team up to take down the latest supervillain to pose a worldwide threat: Balthazar Bratt, former child star of a short-lived 1980s TV show called Evil Bratt. Emotionally stuck in the '80s, Bratt (Trey Parker) wants to make Hollywood pay for cancelling his show and turning him into a has-been. Gru and Lucy successfully capture the diamond Balthazar was after, but they aren't able to arrest him. So the new head of the AVL fires them, leaving Gru restless and jobless. All but two of his minions leave Gru's side when he won't go back to being a villain, and then he's informed of something unthinkable: He has a long-lost identical twin, Dru (also Carell), who was brought up by their father (Gru thought he had died) in the foreign country of Freedonia. Gru, Lucy, and the girls set off for Freedonia, where they believe Dru to be the country's richest pig farmer. But then they discover that he's secretly hoping to be a villain like his late father and twin brother. Gru uses Dru and his secret lair full of high-tech weapons and vehicles to stop Balthazar, while Dru believes they're on a twin mission to become villains.

Is it any good?

Predictable but fun, this "threequel" is an amusing, kid-friendly mix of sibling interaction, '80s humor, and irresistibly silly minion jokes. The double dose of Carell -- one dark and bald (Gru), one with a head full of blond hair and a different accent (Dru) -- is hilarious, if formulaic. The twin material (they try to "trade" places for a dinner, fooling absolutely no one but remaining endearing all the same) is funny and easy for even the youngest audiences to understand. The subplot in which Lucy attempts to rise to the occasion as a mother is also quite sweet; watching her go into "mama bear" mode is one of the movie's highlights. And Pharrell Williams' score is enhanced by '80s hits from the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Nena, as well as one showstopping minionese version of Gilbert and Sullivan's "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General."

As for the villain, Parker's Bratt is definitely more memorable than the antagonist of the second movie, and his voice is perfectly suited to play a resentful middle-aged man who never came to terms with his fall from celebrity. The '80s jokes and sight gags should appeal to Gen X/Y parents, and Parker's costume itself is worth several laughs. The filmmakers have toned down the extreme minion focus since the second film, which is for the greater good, as a little bit of minion humor goes a long way. But there's still something lacking in this film, which can't quite meet the standards set by the first. Still, while this isn't the best of the Despicable Me movies, it at least promotes positive messages about families, siblings, and loyal friends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Despicable Me 3 compares to the earlier movies in terms of action/violence. Which parts did you find scary? Did the fact that some of the weapons were silly/cartoonish affect the impact of the scenes they were used in?

  • How do the characters in Despicable Me 3 demonstrate communication and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

  • Do you think the movie's humor is appropriate for young viewers? Why or why not? Why do you think the minions are so popular with kids?

  • This series has lots of lovable villains (or former villains). How does the movie make Gru a sympathetic character? Is it OK to root for someone who is/has been a bad guy?

  • How do sequels typically compare to the original movies? How does this one further the story? Do you think there should be more movies in this series?

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