Story

Despicable Me 2 opens with a top-secret research laboratory in the Antarctic being stolen by a giant flying magnet that sucks the laboratory up into the air and whisks it away. The movie then cuts to reformed super-villain Gru (voice of Steve Carell). Gru now uses his talents to entertain his three adopted daughters – Margo (voice of Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (voice of Dana Gaier) and Agnes (voice of Elsie Kate). Gru’s yellow minions have taken on babysitting and house-cleaning duties. They also help Gru with his legitimate business, developing a new line of delicious jams and jellies.

Gru’s new life is turned upside down when he is kidnapped by secret agent Lucy Wilde (voice of Kristen Wiig). She whisks him away for a meeting with Silas Ramsbottom (voice of Steve Coogan), the head of the Anti-Villain League. Silas tells Gru that a top-secret serum that can transform cute little rabbits into ferocious monsters has been stolen from a laboratory in the Antarctic by an unknown super-villain. The serum is believed to be hidden somewhere in a shopping mall, where the super-villain is disguised as a shop owner. Silas wants Gru to team up with agent Wild and go undercover as owners of a cupcake shop. The plan is for Gru to work out which shop owner is the super-villain and then get back the serum.

It doesn’t take Gru long to recognise Eduardo (voice of Benjamin Bratt), the owner of a Mexican restaurant, as super-villain El Macho. El Macho’s master plan involves stealing Gru’s minions and using them for his own evil purposes. It’s up to Gru and Lucy to stop El Macho and save the minions.

Themes

Super-villains; family relationships

Violence

Despicable Me 2 has frequent over-the-top cartoon-style slapstick violence and danger but no death, injury or blood and gore. Younger children might copy some of the violence. For example:

  • A giant flying magnet sucks up an entire research laboratory along with many workers. Workers, equipment, machinery and a portable toilet cubicle fly through the air as they are sucked up into the aircraft.
  • At a children’s birthday party, young children wear warrior costumes and use inflatable weapons. They run around hitting each other over the head and body. One young boy is hit over the head, bursts into tears and runs off.
  • A young child holds a balloon in his mouth. Another child with a chainsaw is about to cut the balloon when an adult stops him.
  • Gru tries to put Lucy Wild out of action with a freeze gun. But Lucy shoots him with a lipstick Taser and knocks him out. Lucy drags Gru’s unconscious body by the legs to her car, nearly runs him over when she reverses and then squashes him into the boot of the car.
  • In a flashback scene an enraged El Macho grabs a man by the head and throws him across a room. Next El Macho is tied to a massive shark with sticks of dynamite strapped to his body. He plummets out of a plane and into a volcano, which then explodes.
  • A chicken attacks Gru, pecking his head and groin, and then bursting out of his shirt front.
  • When El Macho discovers someone searching his shop at night he says, ‘Someone’s going to die tonight’. He holds a large knife in a threatening way.
  • When Gru attempts to sneak into El Macho’s secret headquarters, he sets off lots of booby traps, including flame throwers, axes and needle-like darts. By the time Gru has passed all the booby traps, his face is covered with soot and he has several darts sticking out of him, including one through his nose.
  • Lucy is strapped to a shark on a rocket loaded with dynamite. The rocket is aimed at a smoking volcano. El Macho threatens to launch the rocket and kill Lucy. Gru frantically tries to cut Lucy free before the rocket is launched, but the rocket launches with Gru hanging on. Gru manages to free Lucy in the middle of the flight.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years, particularly in the 3D version. For example:

  • Several scenes show creatures – including white rabbits, a minion and El Macho himself – being injected with serum and transforming into purple monsters with ferocious teeth. After his transformation, El Macho goes on a rampage before being shot with a Taser.
  • There is a brief cartoon x-ray image of a woman’s skeleton and internal organs. 

From 5-8

Younger children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be scared by anything in this movie.

Over 13

Nothing of concern 

Sexual references

Despicable Me 2 has occasional low-level romantic suggestions. For example:

  • In one scene a very persistent women flirts with Gru.
  • In several scenes Gru’s daughters encourage him to go out on dates.
  • A woman mistakenly thinks a man slapped her on her bottom. She slaps him across the face.
  • Gru’s daughter Margo flirts with a boy, saying, ‘He’s so cool’.
  • Margo uses her phone to send a text message to a boy. A worried-looking Gru asks his other daughters if Margo is texting a girl or a boy. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • In one scene a woman who is on a date with Gru at a restaurant suddenly falls unconscious, face first into her dinner. Lucy appears and tells Gru that she shot the woman with tranquiliser.
  • In a flashback scene El Macho puts rattle snake venom into a glass with alcohol and then drinks it.
  • The minions act as if they’re drunk while eating ice-cream and lollies at a party. Several minions pass out.
  • A rabbit, some of Gru’s minions and El Macho are injected with mutation serum. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some mild romantic activity and comical cartoon nudity. For example:

  • Gru’s three daughters fill out an online dating form for Gru. They pick out a picture of Gru in tight swimmers to attach to the dating form.
  • One of Gru’s minions imagines running with Lucy on a beach and offering her wine. As he is leaning forward to kiss Lucy on the lips, he is woken from his daydream.
  • In one scene El Macho rips open his shirt to reveal a naked hairy chest with a Mexican flag tattoo.
  • El Macho dances the tango with Lucy, swirling her around the dance floor and telling her that he is ‘free on Tuesdays’.
  • Several female characters wear tight dresses.
  • One of the movie’s final scenes shows Gru and Lucy being married and kissing. 

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in this movie, but some merchandise associated with the movie is being marketed to children. 

Coarse language

Despicable Me 2 has some mild name-calling and toilet humour. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Despicable Me 2 is an animated family comedy, full of clever humour and likely to appeal to both school-age children and adults. The movie brings back most of the main characters from the first Despicable Me movie as well as many new ones.

Children under six years might be scared by some of the violence and by scenes of creatures changing into monsters after being injected with serum. These scenes are more intense in the 3D version of the movie.

The movie promotes the importance of family and having a life partner. Gru continuously demonstrates his love for his children through his constant care for them and his willingness to put their needs above his own.

You could talk with your children about the pre-teen romance and flirting behaviour shown between Margo and her boyfriend.