Despicable Me 2: The Adventures of Single Father Hood

When I saw the first Despicable Me, I really enjoyed the idea of making a super-villain the hero. While this story line has been done before, very few did it with as much style.

Gru, one of the world’s greatest terrors, is converted to being a loving dad by adopting three orphan girls. Plus, Despicable Me appealed to the geek side of me with crazy cool spy gadgets made by Gru and his nemesis Vector. Plus, what more can be said about the minions? Cute AND funny. I wish I had one.

In Despicable Me 2, we still have cool spy stuff, but the creative team goes deeper to discuss a rarely touched-on theme in animated films (Finding Nemo the exception that proves the rule): single fatherhood.

The movie opens with Gru settled in to taking care of his three girls. He is a great dad. He throws huge princess parties, dresses as a fairy queen when needed and still finds time to work in his secret lab (jams and jellies). Gru doesn’t seem discontented at all. He loves every minute of it.

When the Anti-Villain league comes knocking on his door (tasering him) for help, Gru refuses until he becomes attracted to kooky Agent Lucy Wilde who convinces him to help find a stolen chemical compound. As you might expect, this storyline gives us more spy fun. I won’t give away the ending (even though you know the ending already), but if you enjoy spy movies this film covers some well-known ground while still making it fresh.

The more interesting sub-plot is showing Gru as a successful single dad. Great single dads seem to have disappeared lately from pop culture. On Geek Goes Rogue, we’ve expressed deep concern on the “bashing” of the American male. Whether it’s sneering at fourteen-year old boys, or the “well-meaning but incompetent Dad,” our culture has grown to hate men or, at least, stereotype them when it comes to raising kids.

This is why I loved the portrayal of Gru in Despicable Me 2. Yes, he is a bit over protective of his daughters (love the scene where he freeze-rays the boy who breaks Margo’s heart), but there is no doubt he has most parenting situations well in hand. He doesn’t NEED a woman to make him competent or fix his bumbling efforts. Instead, he falls in love with Lucy out of equality. He also understands that his daughters need a good mom, but not because he is an incompetent father.

As a parent, that’s what I got out of the movie. I know your next question is will your kids love it? Without a doubt. I took my eight-year old and he laughed the entire time. I mean, how can you not love a movie that has minions?

Over all, Despicable Me 2 works because it keeps things simple. Fun Movie. Good Spy stuff. And minions, minions, minions.

You might just learn that single dad’s aren’t as incompetent as our culture thinks.

About Jonathan Ryan

Jonathan Ryan is a novelist, blogger and columnist. His novel, 3 Gates of the Dead, published by Open Road Media, is in bookstores everywhere. The sequel, Dark Bride, will be out in April 2015

  • katherinecoble

    DM has become one of my favourite movies to just relax to during fits of insomnia. I enjoy the beauty of it, the humour and the tenderness. I was so excited to hear that they were doing a sequel and also very disappointed to see that Entertainment Weekly gave it a harshly low grade. (C+ or something like that.) Your review gives me hope that it’s going to be a movie I enjoy seeing.

    And AMEN to your points about the creeping misandry and the happiness about seeing fathers portrayed as something other than infantile nincompoops.

    • Author Jonathan Ryan

      I’m not sure what film EW watched. I really enjoyed it. Not sure it was a good as the first one, but what is? :)

  • Sujana Loren

    I watched despicable me movie 2 times..really great movie…story of the movie is really brilliant. I wonder to watch that Gru buys lots of geeky gadgets for his three orphan child… i really enjoyed the movie. thanks for sharing the article.