Hoooo boy. After becoming one of the more popular animated franchises around, the Despicable Me series suddenly found itself in quite a pickle after releasing the horrible Minions spin-off movie. There were already some divided opinions on the Minions, but now basically everyone hates them. And now some people dislike the first two Despicable Me movies just because of the Minions--which is a bit of a shame, because the first one at least was actually quite good. As a result, not many people really wanted to see a third Despicable Me movie--except the kids, and thus the parents got dragged along. And thus this movie somehow made a billion dollars? Huh? Still trying to figure that one out.
Well, whatever. This movie's setup involves Gru and Lucy in their new life as a married couple while still being agents for the Anti-Villain League--until they're fired for repeatedly failing to catch a washed up 80's TV star villain named Balthazar Bratt. And then the Minions abandon Gru because they suddenly dislike his non-villainous ways (they didn't seem to care in the last movie, though). And *then* Gru finds out he has a twin brother named Dru. Who is basically the opposite of him.
It becomes pretty clear as you go through this movie that the act is wearing thin and they're starting to run out of ideas. Not shocking--it's amazing they even got this far after the "villain redemption" story of the first movie, which would've stood just fine on its own. What we get is not much unlike the second movie--some things work and some things don't. Dru really doesn't work. Although Steve Carell voices him as well, he kind of feels tacked on and aside from the occasional humorous moment, doesn't really bring much noteworthy material to the table--aside from the whole family theme which is beginning to take center.
There are also some small side plots/stories that don't add much (again). Namely, Agnes's continued obsession with unicorns. The iconic "It's so fluffy" scene was hilarious in the first movie, but now the whole thing just feels forced. Once again, the middle of the film just struggles to find its footing as it kind of teeters and totters around between characters and whatever they're doing at the moment.
So, the villain--Balthazar Bratt. Villains have not been the strength of this series at all. It seems like the writers are worried about making one too scary for the tiny tots who are watching these things, but they're generally too lowbrow for the adults to take seriously. This one is no different. He has a pretty annoying catchphrase and his main weapon is self-inflating bubblegum--which is pretty dumb. But he still ends up posing the biggest threat by far of the bunch and actually wreaks quite a bit of havoc before he's stopped. The final act (despite the stupid bubblegum thing) is actually pretty good overall. It helps that the climax actually has a sense of danger to it, which the previous movie didn't, despite still having an entertaining final act.
What is still working? Well, there is still a fair amount of humor to go around. The series continues to shine with the slapstick humor, and Steve Carell continues to deliver. The Minions are relegated back to occasional comic relief status, and while a couple of their scenes are annoying, one of the most hilarious scenes in the movie actually involves them while they're in prison--demonstrating how funny they're still capable of being when in more limited doses like that. And if you've liked and cared about the characters so far, that won't change here.
Ultimately, it's just the continued adventures of Gru and company once again. It's nothing special and the act is starting to wear thin, but it still just manages to keep its footing when it's all said and done. If you liked the movies before (not including the Minions spin-off), you'll probably have a decent enough time with this one. I do kind of wish they would have the sense to stop now, though--because if they continue with no end in sight, we'll really start getting sick of these movies pretty quick. Quit while you're still (barely) ahead.