Despicable Me 2 Review – Violence & Mexican Stereotypes

Despicable Me 2 Review
Despicable Me 2 Review

Illumination Entertainment

Despicable Me 2 Review

*spoiler alert*  Read at your own risk…

I saw Despicable Me 2 with my 5 year old yesterday. I was disappointed that it was not kid-friendly for a toddler AT ALL. There were multiple scenes with kidnappings, people getting hit by cars and excessive violence, not to mention the fact that the minions changing from fun and friendly little goofs to violent deranged animals had my daughter covering her eyes again and again.  There was also a scene where animal testing was shown and a small rabbit was injected with a serum that turns it into a large purple beast, which then turns on the lab technician.

I have to admit that I didn’t even think about checking the film rating because I wrongly assumed that Despicable Me 2 would be much like the original Despicable Me, which we loved for it’s focus on the importance of family and sticking together.  It was funny, cute and really had something for everyone.

This movie was dramatically different, in that the film was more focused on Gru’s love interests and the portrayal of the villain, than his relationship with the three girls he had adopted previously.

In this film, Gru decides to turn good and is recruited by a spy agency to save the world.  But in his quest to find the bad guy, there was also the fact that all of the suspects in the film just happened to be minorities. Any white suspects were immediately dismissed as possible threats, while the Chinese and Mexican shop owners were targeted.

El Macho (Eduardo)

Despicable Me 2 - El Macho

Illumination Entertainment

The main villain in the movie is Mexican. I had the feeling they were doing this to be “inclusive”, but it actually ended up being offensive. He was an obese man with a mustache and gold chain around his neck and a very thick accent. When he spoke, he kind of shimmied and danced around the room, because, you know…all Latin people dance. *sarcasm*

He is a caricature.

The villan’s name is “El Macho” and coincidentally he owns a Mexican restaurant (apparently the only career choice of Mexicans) and has a huge cinco de mayo bash toward the end of the film, which appears to occur in a mansion-looking place, so you get the impression that he’s not from humble means…meaning he makes his money in other ways.

I was not a fan of this character at all.

I do appreciate that they tried to include the appearance of a Luchador in the film.  It would have been fun if the cultural relevance and even some of the ring tricks were there, however, they weren’t, so this possible attempt completely fell flat in my eyes.

There also was the inclusion of Eduardo’s son, a slick, Euro-trendy mock of D.F. residents.  He was smooth, he was an apparent exaggeration of the “Latin-lover” and at the end of the film, he ends up cheating on Gru’s oldest daughter, Margo.  Surprise, surprise.

To be fair, there were some good scenes in the film, although limited.  The ending of the film was good. It was sweet and heart-warming just like the first movie. I also admit that I liked the idea of creating a love interest for Gru and potential mom for the girls.

There is a funny mishap with Gru’s new career as a jelly maker, which comes back as an unexpected twist at the end of the film.  Quirks like these are what made the first film so endearing.

I only wish that they would have achieved more of these types of scenes during the film instead of leaving it off for the end.  I wish there had been more scenes with Gru and the girls and more with the funny and quirky minions.  Instead, there were too many scenes that didn’t really fit together or felt forced.

I wouldn’t recommend watching Despicable Me 2 with younger kids due to excessive violence, and not at all if you’re concerned about overt stereotypes, as they were very evident in the film.

Ultimately, we won’t be watching this one when it comes to DVD.

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