With Minions: The Rise of Gru coming out soon, it’s time to rank each Despicable Me movie and take a look at what made them successful.
The original Despicable Me movie received incredible reviews back in 2010 and as fans await the fifth installation of the franchise from Illumination, the same CGI animation company behind the Ice Age movies, now is a good time to consider which of the Despicable Me movies were the best, and which were the worst. The movies center around Gru (Steve Carell), a supervillain-turned-caring-family-man, and his faithful Minions as they navigate a world of crime. While the franchise has brought in a combined box office total of over $3.7 billion over the years, each individual movie has received a mixed bag of reviews from critics and fans alike. Regardless, the franchise surpassed the Shrek movies as the most successful animated series of all time after Despicable Me 3 came out in 2017.
In addition to The Office’s Steve Carell, the movies have featured other legends from the silver screen and small screen, including Julie Andrews as Marlena Gru, Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Overkill, and Kristen Wiig as Miss Hattie and Lucy Wilde. Though Gru prided himself on being a rough and tough supervillain in Despicable Me, by the end of the first movie he found himself in the position of being a father-like figure to three young girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), who ultimately made him realize that being a supportive father was what was most important to him in future movies. Although the villains included in each movie have changed with every entry, the large cast of Minion characters has persisted throughout.
None of the Despicable Me movies have flopped, but some have certainly fared better than others. Save for a slight regression during opening weekend at the box office for the franchise’s latest release, Despicable Me 3 (2017), each movie has brought in more money domestically, and internationally. But money isn’t everything in determining which movies were the most well-received, and with Minions: The Rise of Gru releasing later this year, now is the perfect time to rank its predecessors.
4. Minions (2015)
The cute yellow Minions may have gotten their own movie because they stole audiences’ hearts in the first two Despicable Me movies, but Minions went a little too far. With the lowest Rotten Tomatoes rating of the franchise, the Minions movie proved that the little guys function better as little morsels of comic relief, not the main characters of a full-length film. To its credit, Minions was on Netflix’s top 25 movies in 2021, but the slapstick humor got old really fast and the movie just ran out of steam. However, given that the movie brought in over $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office, it seems that Minions must have resonated with younger viewers with its often nonsensical jokes. There’s no doubt that Despicable Me would not be what it is today without the Minions, but the movie often finds itself on lists that rank the worst films that made over a billion dollars. The creators tried to give the people what they wanted: more Minions, but Minions ended up being too much of a good thing.
3. Despicable Me 3 (2017)
The most recent installation of the franchise, Despicable Me 3 continued Gru’s storyline while introducing some interesting new characters, like his twin Dru, and the new villain, Trey Parker’s Balthazar. Returning to a similar formula that the two prior Despicable Me movies followed, Gru and Lucy start off by getting fired by the Anti-Villain League when Balthazar gets away. Gru’s whole family gets torn apart as his twin brother Dru walks back into his life. The movie jumps all over the place with some pretty wild ideas. It’s a lot to keep up with and digest, but this is where the Minions do their part well: they provide little snippets of comic relief to break up the otherwise hard-to-follow storyline. While opening weekend at the box office was not as successful as the previous two movies in the franchise, Despicable Me 3 did still bring in over $1 billion worldwide.
2. Despicable Me (2010)
The original Despicable Me movie introduced a whole bizarre world to fans, the movie is often ranked as one of the best animated movies of all time and if it weren’t for the success of this first movie, the animated franchise may not have gone on to become the highest-grossing of its kind like it did when it surpassed Shrek in 2017. Gru goes through some enormous character growth during the movie, turning from a supervillain into a super-dad for his adopted daughters, Margo, Edith, and Agnes. The movie is able to seamlessly introduce the fascinating Minions in such a way that audiences don’t question them, they just accept them and laugh at them. Oftentimes the first movie in a series gets bogged down in explaining the complex world that has been created, but not Despicable Me. The movie explains the world through showing, not telling, and it’s all the stronger for it.
1. Despicable Me 2 (2013)
While both movies are classics, Despicable Me 2 narrowly outdoes Despicable Me. The 2013 movie was among many sequels that year that outdid their originals at the box office. With Wonder Woman 2‘s Kristen Wiig rejoining the franchise as Lucy and a story that allows the audience to get to know the girls a little better, the movie works on every level. The Minions are at their absolute best here: they are more prominent than in the original Despicable Me, but not so much that it’s overbearing. With the Minions being at the center of El Macho’s plot to use them to achieve world domination, Despicable Me 2 shows that Minions can be the focal point but still in bite-sized pieces. Since the original movie, Gru was always a family man at heart, and this movie really lets him shine as such.
Due to some pretty substantial Coronavirus delays, Minions: The Rise of Gru is finally coming out two years later on July 1, 2022. Hopefully for fans, the movie (which will undoubtedly heavily feature the Minions) learns a little something from its predecessor, and perhaps the delays in its release have only added to its quality. Regardless, the movie will have a lot to live up to thanks to the success of its predecessors.
More: Will Sandra Bullock’s Scarlet Overkill Return for Minions 2?
- Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)Release date: Jul 01, 2022
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