After failing to apprehend ’80s child TV star turned supervillain Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), Gru (Steve Carell) and his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) find themselves fired as agents of the Anti-Villains League by new boss Valerie Da Vinci (Jenny Slate), which subsequently results in all but two of Gru’s Minions walking out on him, after he refuses to return to villainy. Gru is approached by butler Fritz (Steve Coogan), who provides an invitation from Dru (Carell), the twin brother that Gru did not know that he had. Incredibly wealthy and good-looking, yet completely incompetent, Dru wants Gru to teach him how to be a master villain. Gru takes this opportunity to enlist Dru’s help to steal the priceless Dumont Diamond from Balthazar Bratt’s lair.
The signature animated series from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment returns for a third installment. At this point, the Despicable Me series has almost taken a backseat to the breakout characters the Minions, who appeared in their own movie two years ago. Indeed, Despicable Me 3 is practically telling two stories simultaneously. There is the main plot involving Gru meeting his twin brother Dru, and then there is a completely independent subplot involving the Minions, which includes them stumbling onto a singing competition (in reference to last year’s Sing!), getting thrown in jail, and planning an elaborate escape.
Probably the most interesting aspect of Despicable Me 3 is the fact that it features South Park‘s Trey Parker making his first appearance in a kids film, as the voice of 1980s-obsessed villain Balthazar Bratt. Parker plays Bratt as if Randy Marsh from South Park grew a mullet, wore tacky clothes, and danced to 1980s pop hits while committing crimes. While undoubtedly toned down from Trey Parker’s other voice work, he is still quite entertaining in the role.
Most of the characters from the previous Despicable Me films make their return in this film, such as Gru’s adopted girls Margo ( Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Nev Scharrel), as well as Julie Andrews reprising her role from the first film as Gru’s mom. A notable omission from the voice cast of this third installment is Russell Brand as mad scientist Dr. Nefario, with the character’s absence being explained away in pretty humorous fashion.
While for the most part Despicable Me 3 takes the form as an action/heist film, there are also a number of subplots in the film with messages to learn. This includes Lucy learning how to be a better mother to the girls and Agnes going on a search for a real life unicorn in the woods. Ultimately, Despicable Me 3 is a worthy follow-up for fans on this series.