Regardless of what side of the fence he's playing on, Despicable Me’s Gru is a character who is fun to watch. Steve Carell’s expert timing as the voice of this Illumination animated anti-hero helped the new prequel Minions: The Rise of Gru’s huge box office debut and welcomed fans back to the world of the Mini-Boss. Just because we’re seeing a younger Gru doesn’t mean he’s any less inventive, though, as Carell has teased one of the new inventions we see his character play around with in this new movie release – throwing us back to his ‘70s childhood.
There are two very familiar devices we are shown in Minions 2, and both are seemingly prototypes for weapons that future Gru uses to wreck havoc as an adult sipervillain. The first is something that harkens back to our introduction to Gru in Despicable Me, and was a subject of discussion during my recent interview with Steve Carell.
As we had our chat during the virtual press day for Minions: The Rise of Gru, the subject of the lovable wanna-be villain in question led to a discussion on when an aspiring baddie should invent their first Freeze Ray. While that weapon is still a way off on Gru’s timeline in the new film, Carell notes a piece of his character’s arsenal in the movie essentially lays down the foundation for that very key piece of equipment:
Gru and his little yellow friends find themselves using this Cheese Ray during a rather impatient stop at an ice cream shop in Minions: The Rise Of Gru. Don’t worry about spoilers, because the trailers for this Minions film show off Gru’s sticky solution to a long wait in line. Cheesing his fellow patrons in place, our young bad guy gets the frozen treat he wants without wasting time.
Your memory isn’t deceiving you if you think this moment sounds a bit familiar; especially if you’re a Peacock Premium subscriber who’s been revisiting the Despicable Me saga. When we were first introduced to Gru in the 2010 comedy that launched the franchise, a similar situation arose during a quest for a morning coffee. As you’ll see below, it was a perfect intro for Steve Carell’s gleefully evil villain, and the Freeze Ray that made it all possible:
The big difference between Despicable Me Gru and Minions: The Rise of Gru’s incarnation is that we haven’t seen him go through whatever circumstances that turn him into a (somewhat) hardened criminal. Other than that, his ambitions are still as high as the Moon, though Gru is settling for a magical amulet that might gain him membership in the Vicious 6 in the new film instead of any celestial objects.
Of course, that’s still big dreaming for the eleven-year-old, as up until his heist he engages in more mischief than theft. This leads us to the other apparatus that Minions: The Rise of Gru uses to connect the despicable lead’s past to his future. When clearing out an entire screening of Jaws with a very gassy grenade, Gru’s antics are reminiscent of his work with a Fart Gun in the Despicable Me movies.
I won’t ruin it for anyone who still hasn’t seen Minions: The Rise Of Gru, but there are a couple more big connections to Despicable Me lore that pop up, as some notable characters show their faces this time around. For now, it's safe to say that Steve Carell's grasp on Gru and his inventions is just as sharp as it was from the moment we first saw him the character action – which is great, because with Despicable Me 4 looming in 2024, it's good to know that you can still count on Carell to bring as many smiles as possible to the table.
To find out what secrets lie behind the title card, you'll need to go see Minions: The Rise of Gru, which is currently in theaters. If you're still new to this movie, the only recommendation I'll make is that the Minions are a must-see in 3D!
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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.