Despicable Me 4 Review: A Mess of Potential and Unfulfilled Expectations

Beebom Score

Despicable Me 4 is overall a fun movie that you will most certainly enjoy. It retains what you would expect from a Despicable Me movie but when it comes to the plot, it was slightly underwhelming. Despicable Me 4 brings a lot of different elements like Mega Minions and the school for aspiring villains but fails to explore their potential to the full extent.
An overall fun watch
Retains the charm of the Despicable Me franchise
Introduces fun and new characters
A lot of unexplored potential
A slightly underwhelming plot

Despicable Me 4 has already hit theaters after a long time of 7 years. Minions are back on the screen and the crown jewel of Illumination Studios once again shines bright. However, despite how beloved this franchise has been for over 15 years, Despicable Me 4 has left me in a dilemma. Even though the movie is fun to watch and will keep you giggling for the entirety of it, it has a set of problems as well, So, stay with me through this review of Despicable Me 4 where I will talk about all the aspects of this movie.

Glimpses of the Plot’s Potential

Despicable Me 4 kicks off with a pretty awesome sequence of Gru (Steve Carell) driving a sports car to an alumni meet at Lycée Pas Bon, where young kids aspiring to be villains go to learn about being bad. At the event, we are first introduced to Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and his girlfriend Valentina (Sofía Vergara). Gru is there undercover for the AVL (Anti-Villain League) to capture Maxime. There we get to know that Maxime has harnessed the power of insects, more specifically, cockroaches to gain superhuman strength and flight.

After a display of how strong he has become after turning himself half-insect in a fight with AVL, he is caught and sent to prison. We see that Gru has become a family man now and has a baby boy named Gru Jr. with his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig). However, it is revealed that Maxime Le Mal has escaped from prison and wants to exact revenge on Gru not just for capturing him but also for stealing the song Maxime was going to sing in their 9th-grade talent show.

After this, Gru, Lucy, Gru Jr., Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Madison Skyy Polan), and Edith (Dana Gaier) are taken to a safe house in the town of Mayflower. There, the Gru family takes up fake identities as the Cunninghams and the rest of the movie revolves around Maxime chasing down Gru and them fighting each other with some pretty interesting events in the middle of it. Oh and yes, the AVL conducts an experiment that gives superpowers to Minions similar to Superman, Mr. Fantastic, Cyclops, and The Thing.

The Potential Is the Problem of Despicable Me 4

The Potential is The Problem Of Despicable Me 4
Image Courtesy: IMDb

Now that we have talked about the plot of Despicable Me 4, I know that it sounds really promising, and in truth, it is as well. But the way this movie is carried out, the storyline is branched out in so many ways that at times you will forget the main plot of Despicable Me 4. I’m not saying that Despicable Me 4 is bad. On the contrary, the movie has a lot of potential which ironically is the problem with it as well.

In the first few minutes of the movie, we are introduced to Lycée Pas Bon, the villain grooming institution. Just imagine such a great addition to the franchise, a school that is almost certainly a parody of Hogwarts but for villainous kids but is not explored any further in the movie except in two or three sequences.

After this, we get to see Mega Minions created by the AVL. These Mega Minions were a huge part of the marketing campaign of Despicable Me 4 but the screentime they got was equally less. They appeared on screen in three scenes in total. One was where they were created, the second was when they unsuccessfully tried to save multiple people, and the third was by the end of Despicable Me 4 just for a couple of minutes. What I’m trying to say here is that these Mega Minions deserved to have more screen time as they were a major part of why people walked into the theaters to watch the movie.

Finally, there’s the character of Poppy Prescott (Joey King), the daughter of Gru’s neighbor who blackmailed him into helping her plan a heist to steal Lenny the Honey Badger, the mascot for Lycée Pas Bon. In the movie, she later on also helped Gru to break into Maxime Le Mal’s ship. She is a very interesting and fun character in the movie and owns every scene in which she appears. However, just like the other two elements mentioned above her character was left unexplored as well.

Now, there’s a possibility that these elements were artificially stopped from reaching their potential just so that Illumination could create more spinoffs that are not just centered around Minions. But even if that is the case, Despicable Me 4 could have treated these elements slightly better than it did.

Half-Baked Approach and Untapped Potential of Promising Characters

The Plot is a Bit Underwhelming
Image Courtesy: IMDb

If you are a fan of the Despicable Me franchise, don’t take me wrong but the overall plot of Despicable Me 4 was kind of underwhelming. Now I get it that Despicable Me is essentially a kid’s movie but Illumination Studios should also take into consideration that a large chunk of the audience that is going to watch Despicable Me 4 is going to be adults or young adults as well. Making a movie that serves both audience groups is not unheard of and is done quite frequently by studios like Marvel and DC.

Throughout the movie, Maxime Le Mal has been fighting the extract revenge from Gru. We all thought that he was hunting for Gru because he got Maxime arrested but a major chunk of his enmity is because of something that happened when they both were in the 9th grade. In the movie, Maxime steals Gru’s son, turns him into a partial bug like him and even almost kills him. However, by the end of the movie, they both ended up singing “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” together which is something I found very absurd. It just made it feel like the whole plot of them being archnemesis was really shallow.

Should You Watch Despicable Me 4?

So, Should You Watch Despicable Me 4?
Image Courtesy: IMDb

The simple answer is, yes. You should. Even though Despicable Me 4 has its own set of problems, this movie is fun to watch and you would not spend a single minute not giggling in your seats. Despicable Me 4 serves all the niches of what you would expect from a Despicable Me or Minions movie. The Minions are as fun as they have always been, Gru and his family are hilarious, Gru Jr. is as cute as it gets and the action sequences are funny and cool at the same time. Yes, there are some loose points but only when you look at it from an adult point of view, and even with them, Despicable Me 4, if nothing else is a movie you will have fun while watching.

Beebom Score
Despicable Me 4
Despicable Me 4 is overall a fun movie that you will most certainly enjoy. It retains what you would expect from a Despicable Me movie but when it comes to the plot, it was slightly underwhelming. Despicable Me 4 brings a lot of different elements like Mega Minions and the school for aspiring villains but fails to explore their potential to the full extent.
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