Sequel sticks to tried-and-true formula, delivering exactly what fans expect

GRU, the lovable ex-supervillain, is back with his quirky family and mischievous Minions for another round of animated antics in Despicable Me 4. Directed by Chris Renaud and co-directed by Patrick Delage, this instalment picks up where the previous films left off, offering familiar faces, fresh humour and a plot that is as wacky as ever. Steve Carell reprises his role as Gru, bringing his signature charm to the character that fans have come to adore.

Same old fun

The film introduces a new villain Maxime Le Mal, voiced by Will Ferrell. Maxime is a French-accented supervillain with embedded cockroach body parts, adding a bizarre twist to the series’ roster of antagonists. Alongside him is his femme fatale girlfriend Valentina, voiced by Sofia Vergara. Their plan for revenge against Gru and his family sets the stage for the central conflict of the movie.

But do not worry, this is not a dark turn for the franchise. True to its form, the movie blends action with humour, keeping the tone light and the jokes coming. From the Anti-Villain League agents’ bumbling efforts to the Minions’ slapstick shenanigans, Despicable Me 4 ensures the laughs are never far away.

Just to be clear, the film has yet to break new ground. It is another Minion movie with the same formula and that is exactly why it works. Fans of the series know what they are getting into and this sequel delivers exactly what they expect. The plot might be predictable but it is executed with the usual flair and energy, making the franchise a global success.

The movie does not shy away from its tried-and-true elements, Gru’s endearing awkwardness, Lucy’s enthusiasm, the girls’ adorable quirks and the Minions’ delightful chaos. New characters such as Poppy Prescott, voiced by Joey King, add a bit of fresh flavour but they do fit into the established world.

Familiar yet fresh

The voice cast remains top-notch, with Carell and Kristen Wiig returning as Gru and Lucy, respectively. Their chemistry is as delightful as ever and their interactions provide some of the film’s most heartwarming moments. Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Madison Polan bring life to Margo, Edith and Agnes, making the Gru family feel like a real, if unconventional, unit.

Newcomers such as Stephen Colbert, Chloe Fineman and King add to the ensemble, each bringing their comedic talents to the table. And that is not forgetting Pierre Coffin, whose Minions continue to steal the show with their gibberish and antics.

If there is one thing to be said about Despicable Me 4, it is that there is nothing inherently wrong with it. The animation is vibrant, the voice acting is top-notch and the humour is consistent. However, there is also nothing particularly groundbreaking or special about it. It is a movie for the fans and strictly for the fans.

For those who have been following the franchise from the beginning, this instalment is a satisfying continuation. It maintains the charm and humour that made the original films a hit and it offers a fun, lighthearted escape. However, for those seeking something new or different, this sequel might feel the same.

Despicable Me 4 is a solid addition to the franchise. It knows its audience and delivers exactly what they want, more Minions, more Gru and more laughs. For fans of the series, it is a must-watch. For everyone else, it is a fun ride.

Despicable Me 4 is in cinemas now.

$!The movie uses the same formula and that is exactly why it works.