Film Review: Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)

Why are we here? Does life have a meaning? If it does, is that meaning liberating despite its elusive nature, or will the comparatively limited scope of human intellect deem it incomprehensible or wholly irrelevant? And if life doesn’t have meaning, is existence beautiful for its perseverance in the light of pure unimportance, or is it pitiful that we lead our futile lives even as our universe perpetually demonstrates a profound lack of compassion for us, everything we love, and everything we ever will love? Regardless of the ultimate existential answers you could siphon from these whimsical wonderings, one can’t help but ponder their inherent bias and subjectivity.

These are not the questions that Minions: The Rise Of Gru has any interest in answering. Does that stop it from leaving a profound mark on the cinematic landscape? Not by a long shot. Remember back when Joker came out, and click-hungry articles claimed it was dangerous and would change the world? Turns out, it’s not Joker, but the Minions sequel that truly altered the actions of moviegoers; in particular, UK cinemas had to ban wearing suits in the wake of a barrage of smartly-dressed “gentleminions” flooding the box office.

I was lucky (and hesitant) enough to miss the opening weekend chaos. Far be it for me to get political in my reviews, but rubbing shoulders with dozens of these suit-clad activists — and they are activists — isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. In fact, I had fully planned on skipping this one, even despite pleas, bribes, and the occasional threat from my more audacious acquaintances; the only reason I ended up going some three weeks after its theatrical release was because I got treated to a movie night out… there was no way I was going to spend a hard-earned ten bucks to go see something like THIS.

The good news is… it was okay. I’m not sugarcoating it for the snarling masses, but I’m also not pretending it wasn’t a decent time at the cinema. The story itself is decent… it’s one that involves a juvenile Gru (Steve Carell) chasing his dreams of becoming a super villain and inadvertently getting captured. And who better to rescue him than him than his little goggle-sporting helpers? Frankly the movie is at its best when it isn’t trying to be meaningful — something it just barely pulls off with its wholesome villainous coming-of-age flavor. The true value comes from the humor; that’s not to say it’s a particular knee-slapper of a ride, but it did pass the six-laughs test… so I’m fine with it existing.

Couple more things to mention here. First, it was interesting to notice that this is the second movie of the year to have both a pet rock playing a generally large role in the plot AND starring Michelle Yeoh (the best part of the whole affair). As if there were any doubt, I still prefer Everything Everywhere All At Once. Second, this is SOMEHOW better than every Marvel movie released so far this year… and it honestly deserves a standing ovation for that achievement alone.

If you hadn’t already noticed, there’s really not much to say. The movie isn’t a train wreck, it’s fine… but I’d suggest waiting for it to come out on streaming or VOD if you really want to watch it. If and when a major publication asks me for a portfolio of my writing, I will conveniently exclude this review.

Overall rating: 6/10

Published by Jeremy Bader

Aspiring writer, film and music lover, drummer.

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