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Despicable them

There are no actual good guys in the lighthearted Minions: The Rise of Gru

Universal Studios

Despicable them
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With silly names like Svengeance, Jean-Clawed, and Wild Knuckles, the bad guys in Minions: The Rise of Gru might seem ridiculous, but make no mistake, they’re vindictive, greedy, and traitorous.

Wild Knuckles risks his life to find a special zodiac amulet, and when fellow villain Belle Bottom throws him a rope, he’s thankful for the rescue—until Belle grabs the amulet and not his outstretched arm. It’s a dark moment of betrayal, but the movie has plenty of zany antics and bright 1970s tunes to keep it lighthearted and PG-rated.

There’s no actual good guy, but young Gru (Steve Carell)—the lovable bad guy from Despicable Me movies past—has one virtue Belle Bottom lacks: loyalty. Eleven-year-old Gru’s coming of age as a villain takes us back to ’70s America, where he cheats at whack-a-mole and air hockey and soon graduates to swiping the amulet that Belle Bottom had herself stolen. A cross-country chase ensues, involving kung fu lessons in Chinatown and a giant disco record player that spins people to death. Those yappy yellow sidekicks whose name graces the title also figure into these shenanigans.

The fact that the movie has no good guys should force kids to think about the gradations of badness inherent in everyone. Just as good guys aren’t entirely good, even bad guys like Gru and Belle Bottom are a mixed bag.

Juliana Chan Erikson

Juliana is a correspondent covering marriage, family, and sexuality as part of WORLD’s Relations beat. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Juliana resides in the Washington, D.C., metro area with her husband and three children.


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