The film that launched a thousand memes
Despicable Me (2010): 9 out of 10: Yes, the movie that started an industry larger than some small nation’s GDPs. Despicable Me is better remembered for what it launched than as a stand-alone movie itself. And that is a bit of a shame.
Despicable Me has one thing that none of the sequels had. A true villain. No, not the antagonist Vector. I am talking about Gru. Gru, for at least the first half of this film, is a proper bad guy. When one of the girls is apparently crushed in a torture device, Gru’s reaction is that his scheme will still work with two of them. This gives Gru a proper character arc in this film, which leads to taking out the tissues at the end. (Why is it always kids’ movies that start the waterworks with me?)
The rest of the film is also top-notch with the minions (Yes a slightly less obnoxious version of Ubisoft’s Rabbids) fully formed and delightful, Gru’s evil cohorts delightful and a macabre world that seems to live just on this side of an Addam’s family cartoon. The three girls are well drawn (character-wise) with distinct and easily recognizable personalities and the whole story is some nice slapstick silliness with great call outs for the parents in the room (That Godfather reference was particularly well placed)
Overall, a great start to what ended up being a fun franchise that never was as good as its first outing.