Despicable Me goes beyond the minions, with the storyline focused entirely elsewhere

Illustration of Gru from Despicable Me holding up a stuffed unicorn. Behind him, in the shadows, is his old ray gun

When I was 9, I watched “Despicable Me” in theaters with my extended family, spanning from the youngest to the oldest members. It saddens me that the film, dear to my heart, is now primarily associated with the minions. While I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward the minions, their overemphasis has turned the franchise into a relic striving to stay relevant. The true gem of “Despicable Me” was never the minions or the cute trio of Margo, Edith, and Agnes—it was Gru.

I could flawlessly imitate Gru’s pseudo-Russian accent, quoting catchphrases at the dinner table. Even now, a well-timed rendition of “the small one from Las Vegas” can diffuse tension, highlighting the brilliance of Steve Carell’s performance and the writing. Gru is flawlessly written, performed, and developed, making you fall for the film as he falls for the girls.

Classic heroes are predictable, lacking a genuine reason to love them. Rooting for them is encouraged because they embody the one-dimensional “good.” On the other hand, characters who start as pure villains can be problematic. However, watching a character like Gru evolve into someone who desires love and connection above all else steals your heart. He realizes that, more than anything, he wants to be a dad.


This transformation happens gradually, captured in montages and small moments. While casual viewers might point to the amusement park day as the turning point, true fans know it’s more. It’s Agnes inviting Gru to the girls’ dance recital, the laser play station incident, the girls saving money for him, the pancake breakfast, the special bedtime stories, and the pivotal moment where Gru risks everything to save them. Gru possesses what many main characters lack: robust character development. Gru challenges the hero-villain dichotomy, showing us that a “villain” could be someone seeking love on the verge of redemption.

“Despicable Me” is a nostalgic reminder of my family and the first time we watched it together. When I incorporate a Gru impression into conversations, it’s not just for laughs but to affirm that, like Gru, I prioritize my family above all else. Cheers to you, Gru.

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