Minions: The Rise of Gru
|"No, I am your father." -Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back
This article may reveal spoilers, especially considering the film had either been released recently or not in specific countries yet.
Minions: The Rise of Gru (also known as Minions 2: The Rise of Gru in some jurisdictions, as well as simply Minions 2) is a 2022 American computer-animated action-comedy film produced by Illumination and distributed by Universal Pictures. This serves as a sequel to the spin-off prequel Minions and the fifth installment of the Despicable Me franchise. Directed by Kyle Balda with Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy, and Chris Renaud as the producers, this film stars Steve Carell and Pierre Coffin alongside Taraji P. Henson, Michelle, Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, and Alan Arkin.
After being delayed for a two-year period due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this movie had its world premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on June 13, 2022, and was released in the United States on July 1, 2022, by Universal Pictures, in standard and select IMAX theaters. It received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for its musical numbers and entertainment value for families, but criticism towards the plot. Minions: The Rise of Gru has grossed $796 million worldwide, making it the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2022, as well as the highest-grossing animated film released during the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was dedicated in memory of animator Madeline Montero, who died during production of the film. The film has been nominated to a Saturn Award for Best Animated Film.
Taking place in the 1970s, this is an origin story of Felonius Gru who grew up in the suburbs. He's a fanboy of a supervillain supergroup known as the Vicious 6 and he wants to become evil enough to join them. He was able to get some mayhem-making backup for his loyal followers, the Minions themselves. together, Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto--a new Minion sporting braces and a desperate need to please--deploy their skills as they and Gru build their first lair, experiment with their first weapons, and pull off their first missions. When the Vicious 6 ousts their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles, Gru interviews to become their newest member yet it does not go well as Gru outsmarts them and suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. While Gru is at it, he gets an unlikely source for guidance from Wild Knuckles himself and learns that even bad guys need a little help.
- Unlike the first Minions movie that was released in 2015, this movie serves as an improvement to its predecessor as it now gives Gru some prominence as the main character due to the Minions being comic reliefs. You could tell that the people behind the film did take some criticism of their previous film and instead gives it all that it takes to make a fun spin-off of the Despicable Me films.
- We finally get to see more of Gru's backstory in this film. While previous Despicable Me films did show some of Gru's history, the film decides to talk about Gru's childhood in the 70s entirely serving as more of an origin story to the Superbad Superdad on how he became the likable villain protagonist that we know and love. Heck, Dr. Nefario (a younger version of him) appears in the film too after being absent in Despicable Me 3 due to Russell Brand not voicing the character despite having a brief cameo in the film.
- The animation is a huge step up from its predecessor. The color palette is much more vibrant and not washed out with details being nice to look at.
- The aesthetic is quite atmospheric in a nostalgic way. You see, the choice of aesthetic is such a good choice for the film's tone due to taking place in the 70s. For those of you who are into 70s history, 70s pop culture, have family members who experienced the 70s, and/or grew up in the 70s, well this movie could be for you. You can thank the filmmakers for this. That's why you have things like buses with 70s-ish art, home phones, record players, Tupperware, and 70s music.
- The humor is so much better than in the first film, such examples include the scene where Otto tries to get the artifact, only to swap it with a birthday kid's rock, and implies that he loved the rock more than the artifact itself by making a smitten face (despite causing Gru to fire the Minions). We also have stuff like the Minions hijacking a plane just to find Gru as well as Gru tempting a group of people at the gym for ice cream.
- Many of the characters are likable, such as Gru himself who is an awesome villain even as a kid, and even redeems himself by seeking help from Wild Knuckles, making him a sympathetic character.
- The Minions (as well as the trio (Kevin, Stuart, and Bob)) are also likable, as they've redeemed themselves by having their toilet humor being toned down drastically to the point the film is now suitable to watch, and even try to improve from their mistakes by trying to get the artifact.
- The Minion Chick is nothing short of adorable.
- The Vicious 6 (Belle Bottom, Stronghold, Svengeance, Jean Clawed, and Nunchuck) are exciting antagonists, despite being given less screen time as they never display significant characterization or in-depth interactions with each other due to the movie focusing more on Gru's origin arc (minus Belle Bottom). They also have some creative designs no matter if it's in their zodiac forms or just their human forms with some clever traits on the villains like Nun-chuck, Jean Clawed, and Stronghold.
- Once again, Heitor Pereira's score is great and so are the soundtracks that contain the 1970s of various contemporary artists covering famous funk, pop, and soul-hits songs.
- It has some nice callbacks and nostalgia for Despicable Me fans.
- Gru uses his "cheese ray" to splatter cheese all over the customers which is a nice nod to the opening scene from Despicable Me only Gru uses a freeze ray instead of a cheese ray.
- Wild Knuckles' furniture appears to be the same furniture that Gru owns in his film. The gator chairs are most notable.
- The scene where Gru and Wild Knuckles go to the bank only for them to go to The Bank of Evil from the first movie with cameos from Mr. Perkins and a picture of a young Vector.
- The Anti-Villian League also makes a cameo with Silas having a cameo as well where he went after the Vicious 6 in the Chinese Festival.
- When Gru went back home from school, the same Despicable Me theme song also appears in that film only with little kids singing it.
- The post-credits where Dr. Nefario accepts Gru as his evil scientist is heartwarming and it becomes awesome when he gives him his iconic plane for Gru to ride on.
- The action scenes are a mix of comical and awesome at the same time (depending on the scene) like when Wild Knuckles steals the Zodiac Stone, Gru saves Wild Knuckles from alligators, Gru escapes from the Vicious 6 after stealing the Zodiac Stone, and the final battle in Chinatown.
- Wild Knuckles' death starts off being emotional only to realize that he managed to fake his death easily which makes him a survivor who managed to trick the audience into thinking that he's dead. Heck, even the coffin was full of bananas and not Wild Knuckles himself.
- Excellent pacing for both children and adults to follow which makes the story go with the flow on its own.
- Even though Gru is a villain (albeit a likable one), the message of mentorship is still there. You see, Gru needed to learn that even bad guys need help which is why he shares good chemistry with Wild Knuckles. The Minions also cared about Gru even though it may not seem like it due to Gru firing them yet consistently Gru managed to call the Minions during a scene where he gets threatened by Wild Knuckles only for the Minions to go find Gru who just so happens to be the boss of the Minions.
- The credits animation is nice to look at as they depict the Minions and Gru doing some fun things together only they are depicted as hand-drawn-like credits that can be compared to those drawings.
- This is the movie that saved animated films during the pandemic as it is currently the highest-grossing animated film of 2022. While The Bad Guys, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train saw box office successes, this movie's success was attributed due to the #Gentleminions trend and families feeling that it is safe to return to theaters following the pandemic.
- Great voice acting with Steve Carrell as a younger Gru and Pierre Coffin returning as the Minions as well as newcomers like Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh and especially Alan Arkin.
- The toilet humor, while thankfully toned down, isn't that good, although thankfully there are two fart jokes with the first one being actually funny, although the second one is a bit unfunny.
- The new minion, Otto, feels a bit awkward to have because if he only made his first appearance in Rise of Gru, there where was he in the other Despicable Me films? One could argue that there are a lot of Minions in this franchise to the point that it can be hard to identify certain Minions, but still.
- As usual, the Minions themselves can be a little annoying for some, even though they are toned down in this film.
- Like Minions, the film suffers from numerous continuity errors.
- The movie takes place in 1976, 8 years after the events of the first film which took place in 1968. In the ending of Minions, we see a young Gru stealing the Queen's crown and flying off. Gru isn't shown to have aged at all in the 8-year gap. Not helping is the fact that Gru is supposed to be 11 years old here meaning that he would have to be 3 years of age in the first movie despite not looking like that age. It would make more sense for a teenage Gru to be in the movie rather than an 11-year-old Gru.
- Dr. Nefario was shown in Villain Con in Minions with Gru standing in front of his stand, implying how the two met up. However, in this movie, Gru and Nefario first met up in Criminal Records, the hideout of the Vicious 6.
- We also see Gru using a freeze ray gun at the end of Minions, but here, Dr. Nefario claims that the Sticky Finger Gadget was the first weapon Gru uses.
- Gru is a bit unlikeable at first (ironic considering his villainy) when he fires every one of the Minions for a mistake Otto made, though he does go through some major character development.
- For some reason there is a bit of product placement with the most notable ones being the MAD magazines, a mentioning of Twinkies, and Jaws (another movie distributed by Universal). To be fair though, it's minimal, so it's nothing too bad.
- False advertising: LEGO released a Brickheadz pack for this film that features the models of Belle Bottom, Kevin and Bob and Kevin's model holds a ninjaku, but in this film Kevin never used such thing.
As of August 3, 2022, Minions: The Rise of Gru has grossed $324.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $397 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $721.4 million. It is the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2022, as well as the highest grossing animated film released during the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing the 2020 film Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train.
In the United States and Canada, Minions: The Rise of Gru was initially projected to gross $70–80 million from 4,391 theaters over its four-day opening weekend. After making $48.2 million on its first day (including an estimated $10.8 million from Thursday previews), the best for an animated film among the pandemic and of the Despicable Me franchise, estimates were raised to $129 million. It went on to debut to $107 million (and a four-day total of $123.1 million), topping the box office. Its total set the Independence Day weekend record, surpassing Transformers: Dark of the Moon's $115.9 million in 2011. The film made $46.1 million in its second weekend (a drop of 57%), finishing second behind newcomer Thor: Love and Thunder.
The film opened in Australia a week before its U.S. release, debuting at $3.7 million. It added another 60 international markets in its sophomore weekend and made $87.2 million. The combined first and second offshore weekends were 13% below Minions (2015) and 3% below Despicable Me 3 (2017). Four countries—Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Venezuela—had the biggest animation opening weekend of all time. The popular TikTok trend that accompanied its release (see below) was credited for Israel's record-breaking performance. In its third international weekend, Minions: The Rise of Gru passed the $400 million worldwide mark after adding $56.4 million to its total. In France, it set records for the biggest Illumination animation opening day of all time, the third biggest animation opening day of all time, and the biggest opening (including previews) of 2022. The film passed the $500 million worldwide mark in its fourth weekend, and $600 million worldwide by its fifth.
The film received mixed reviews from critics but was more positive than the first film while audiences were very positive towards the film with praise for the improved humor, the focus on Gru, the animation, voice acting, nostalgic aesthetics, and musical numbers. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 71% of 164 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The website's consensus reads, "The Minions' antic shenanigans are beginning to grate despite this sequel's injection of retro chic, although this loony marathon of gags will still delight young children." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 56 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, the same grade as its predecessor, while PostTrak gave the film an 87% overall positive score, with 71% saying they would definitely recommend it.
The film has a score of 6.8 out of 10 on IMDb.
- Prior to release, the film near the release date spawned the "x tickets to Minions: Rise of Gru" memes most likely as a response to the Morbius memes
- The film is banned in China, likely due to a brief scene with a gay couple in the theater where Gru throws his fart bomb. It was announced that this movie alongside Lightyear is banned in China.
- The film was rumored to have been banned in Lebanon. While the reasons for the ban have not been specified, some speculate it is due a quick kiss scene between the characters Kevin and Bob which was deemed as homosexual, or that the character Nun-Chuck portrays nuns as evil.
- A popular Internet meme, involving groups of young men dressed in suits like the character Gru attending the film with the tag #Gentleminions, began spreading on TikTok almost immediately after the film's release. The meme originated with a group of Australian high schoolers. It is usually accompanied by American rapper Yeat's song "Rich Minion". Large groups recorded themselves cheering, throwing bananas at the screen, and performing Gru's trademark steepled fingers gesture. Several theaters in the United Kingdom banned groups of young men in formal attire from seeing the film due to their disruptive behavior during screenings. The meme was also documented in the United States, Norway, Singapore, and Israel.
- The social media accounts for Universal Pictures, Illumination, and the franchise have acknowledged the meme, with the latter two posting a video that depicted the Minions participating in the trend.
- 13 through 17-year-olds managed to be the 34% of the audience who went to see the film due to the trend.
- The substantial meme subculture around The Rise of Gru was noted by The Face to be similar to memes surrounding the superhero film Morbius, released earlier in 2022. Both meme subcultures focused around a largely ironic appreciation for the supposed strengths of said film, often verging on the absurdist, but The Face noted that the interest in The Rise of Gru was largely based on a genuine interest in the film, whereas the interest in Morbius was based solely in the latter's perceived lack of quality.
- The film was decated in memory of animator Madeline Montero, who passed away during production on the film.