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Ranking the Despicable Me and Minions Movies!

The adventures of little yellow men and their lovable leader, Gru, helped Despicable Me and Universal create an unparalleled run at the box office. Every movie to date has taken home at least $250 million in the US. Minions: Rise of Gru made the most money of the franchise hits to date, topping $370 million domestic and spawning the “Gentleminions” phenomenon.

Whether Steve Carrell was the reason most people checked out the first movie is a question we’ll ask for years. Regardless, the comedy star has a bonafide franchise that continues to rake in the dough. With the sixth film in the franchise set to dominate the 4th of July weekend, it’s time for us to rank the series and see where Despicable Me 4 falls in the series.

6. Minions (2015)

Sadly, the first Minions experience ranks among the weakest of the franchise. There’s not enough to cover a full story, and Minions drags as a result. While there are plenty of funny moments, even Sandra Bullock cannot provide enough spark here. The highlight of the movie remains the Orlando “Villain-Con” which was so popular it spawned a theme park attraction. Otherwise, Minions is the most forgettable of the franchise to date.

5. Despicable Me 4 (2024)

Despicable Me 4

While the other features of the franchise do their best to tell single stories, Despicable Me 4 tries to tell a half-dozen mini-stories. Most frustratingly, many do not go anywhere. Full of references to better movies (Terminator 2), this one quickly runs out of steam. The Minions become superheroes, Gru gets blackmailed to help a young villain, Lucy becomes a hairdresser, the girls struggle in a new town, and Gru struggles with his biological son. Will Ferrell dusts off a poor Mugatu impression as the villain? While it’s visually interesting, it’s among the weakest foes to date.

4. Despicable Me 3 (2017)

While Gru and the family spent the first few entries growing larger, Despicable Me 3 felt disappointing. There was a heart in the first two Despicable Me films that felt missing from DM3. To the movie’s credit, there’s a very fun vocal performance from Mr. Trey Parker (South Park) and his 80’s entused villain. That’s as close as the movie gets to commentary, and his scenes are far more interesting than those with Gru’s brother Dru (also voiced by Steve Carrell).

3. Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Despicable Me 2

 

This is the one movie in the series that truly approaches the greatness of the first. It wisely expands the world and forces Gru to answer some questions about his future as the head of the family. Additionally, it brings Lucy (Kristen Wiig) into the fold, which helps provide some balance for Gru. Watching the adorable romance unfold is a huge boost, and thanks to the girl’s adoration towards Lucy, it’s easy to buy her as a needed agreement for the franchise to move forward. El Macho (Benjamin Bratt) rules as the villain, especially in the story where he dives into a volcano riding a shark. “Happy” was a banger and remains the best song in the franchise.

2. Minions: Rise of Gru (2022)

While Minions: Rise of Gru has been unceremoniously labeled as Despicable Me 1/2, there’s a lot to like about this entry. The titular Minions do get more development here, even if many of their gags are here for comedic relief. The moments for Gru also hint at a bright future for his character, even if he’s obsessed with villainy at this time.

The best aspect, The Vicious 6 is a unique set of villains, with a nice role for late-career Alan Arkin. Carrell returns to voice child Gru, Michelle Yeoh, and Taraji P. Henson help deliver one of the best vocal ensembles in the franchise. Plus, Minions: Rise of Gru has some very cool setpieces, which surely satisfied the Gentleminions.

1. Despicable Me (2010)

Despicable Me 2

It’s easy to see why the first movie in the series remains the best. The stakes are very clear. The character motivations are fun. The Minions are not overused. It’s a clear ensemble that’s rooted in the heart of the characters, and the sacrifices they are willing to make for each other. Jason Segel’s villain “Vector” is a hilarious foil to Gru and helps us understand why Gru will become a family man. It’s also the most we see out of “Bad Gru” – a fun and very different tone from the other movies in the franchise.

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