Despicable Me introduced the audience to Felonius Gru and his agents of evil/merrymakers ie. henchmen. We got to see more of Gru’s development, but audiences were clamoring to learn more about the older version of (young) Gru. Minions (2015) was made with the beloved Gru appearing there and pulling the minions to his side as the baddest villain of the lot. He was only a child when he stole the crown; but what happened between then and the time frame of Despicable Me? How did Felonius live up to his rather strange name, keeping henchmen by his side and ensuring he didn’t meet the fate of the old supervillains the henchmen got rid of? This one is about Gru.
Minions: The Rise of Gru sees director Kyle Balda focus on 11-year-old Gru. His ambition in life is to become a supervillain. Why wouldn’t that be considered a bad career choice? Vicious six have quite a lot of merchandise and even have a tv channel that covers them. Police where?
Minions: The Rise of Gru was a rather puerile film, but it explained a lot about Gru’s adult life as seen in the Despicable Me trilogy and Despicable Me. Well, of course it would be childish for an adult, but think about how you would consume the movie when you were in elementary school. Yup. Looks pretty entertaining now doesn’t it?
Many questions were unanswered. E.g. What was the purpose of Stuart, Bob and Kevin learning kung fu? Or why was Gru barely in a movie that was supposed to have him as a central central character? An 11-year-old being interviewed for being a supervillain? How thick were the other five not to realize they had chosen a pre-teen?
These aside, we tried to look at Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) and see what it explained.
Who was Gru’s mentor who honed his supervillain skills?
Grown-up Gru seemed polished, and Minions: Rise of Gru showed us how. It always takes a mentor to mold one to one’s potential and pass on the nuances of a task to them.
While Gru always dreamed of becoming a supervillain, he only had elements of mischief in his arsenal. After joining hands with Wild Knuckles, things changed and Gru learned a few tricks from ‘his favorite supervillain’. Of course, it was not smooth and can be considered a bond formed out of the Stockholm syndrome.
Why was Dr. Nefario so special in Gru’s villainous journey?
Despicable Me introduced Gru’s partner and inventor to the audience. But Minions: Rise of Gru explained their first meeting. Nefario was the first villain Gru encountered when the man worked as a behind-the-counter person for the Vicious Six’s Criminal Records. He was the gatekeeper and let Gru into the interview where he stole an item from the biggest bunch of villains. Nefario even instructed Gru to leave, not moving a muscle to stop the pre-teen from escaping with the legendary Zodiac stone.
Later in the film, Gru uses his glue gun invention a lot and realizes the importance of an inventor. Therefore, he makes him an offer, as it is through Nefario that Gru found his footing and managed to steal a painting to impress his mentor.
Gru joining the Anti Villain League isn’t a shocking redemption arc
In the Despicable Me series, Gru eventually joined the AVL. It may have been after he adopted the Girls, but he has had an element of good in him right from his childhood. He oozes evil, but it’s not on the level of The Vicious Six. They don’t seek to help anyone and even kick their mentor/founder/leader, Wild Knuckles, out of the group. Knuckles captures Gru to obtain the legendary Zodiac Stone and then selfishly uses the child for his domestic duties after his new minions walk out on him. After being tied up and left to spin on a disco wheel, Gru could have allowed Wild Knuckles to be eaten by his pet crocodile. He did, however, rescue his captor and provoked me into characterizing him as a noble supervillain, meaning someone who would definitely have enough good in him to stop other supervillains from achieving their goals. By doing so, he would also clear the way for himself. So a kind of balance between good and evil.
Why don’t the Minions leave Gru even when he wasn’t an established villain?
The concept of the Minions being attracted to the most evil person around is kind of disproven as they are just looking for cheap thrills. Young Gru gives them this in abundance with his mischievous antics as he uses a cheese stingray to skip the line, mocks gyms with ice cream, engages in creative ways to win prizes in the arcade and uses an innovative technique to secure an empty movie theater hall. None of these actions can be considered criminal, but they allow the henchmen to have a laugh and be entertained.
But what kept them around even after he fired them? They could have easily teamed up with any of the Vicious Six. Well, they saw the potential for mischief with Gru as he engaged in several not-so-nice activities for cheap thrills. However, had he not wielded the legendary Zodiac stone, things might have been different, as his villainous element may have been overshadowed. Therefore, the split-second evil decision exhibited the inherent quality that saw the “mini-boss” preserve his minions.
Or it could even be that they were like Qilin in Fantastic Beasts…they identify whoever is deemed worthy of being the greatest supervillain of the era.