The violence in this movie reminds me of the cartoons from my childhood (think Wile. E. Coyote). The villains and their technology in this movie are 70s spy-movie style, there is even a shark swimming around in a floor tank in one of the villain character's fortresses. When the characters get shot at or blown up they come up from a hole disoriented and charred, but no one is ever shown to be injured. My 7 year-old got it, but many times we had to discuss with our 3 year-old how this is pretend, and in real life guns are dangerous, etc. The presentation of the old-school orphanage and its mistress, in the style of Annie, also required lots and lots of discussion with my children, especially the 3 year-old. My older daughter seemed to see it much like a fairy-tale, and realize that in the "world" and time in which she lives, this is not how children are treated/adopted, etc. But my three year-old daughter said, "you're a nice mommy, but that mommy is mean" of the orphanage director. Gru's inepetness as a child caretaker is so over-the-top (i.e. - putting bowls of food and water on the floor, and newspapers for poop and pee, like one would with a puppy) that most kids above 5 years would get that it is a joke/not realistic. But we had to discuss with my almost four year-old that it is pretend, and in real life children are taken care of. Gru is an extremely likeable character, even while he was still evil. The placement of this comic-book style villain in our modern society is also humorous, such as when he drives his rocket-style tanker vehicle down the freeway or tries to explain who his army of non-human minion creatures are. All of the actors are great in their parts and the actors, dialogue and music made the movie hold my husband's and my interest, even after multiple viewings. The happy fairy-tale ending in which the evil villian turns nice once he experiences the love of a child, and with no explanation become the adoptive father of the girls once again, made my children grin from ear to ear. They clap and jump up and down shouting, "hooray" when the movie ends. Be prepared for your kids to walk around saying, "oh, poop" as an expression.