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Critics call 'Minions: The Rise of Gru' a fun, 'feel-good' family summer adventure

The Minions are back for an origin story that critics are calling a family-friendly summer hit.

By Matthew Jackson
Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)

Minions: The Rise of Gru marks the fifth time the gibberish-talking yellow guys have graced the big screen, and audiences still haven't tired of their antics. It's not just the fifth film to feature the Minions, but the second film in a series starring them, expanding the story that began with Despicable Me back in 2010 and has since spawned no shortage of Minions-themed media, toys, and memes. 

This time around, things take an origin story approach, as we flash back to 1970s San Francisco and the life of preteen Gru (Steve Carell returning once again), a boy who wants nothing more than to be the world's greatest supervillain. Gru thinks he's found his chance at villainous glory when his favorite supervillain group, the Vicious Six, kick their leader off the team, leaving a slot open that Gru believes he could easily fill. Of course, this is easier said than done, and if Gru hopes to prove himself, he's going to need a boost from his little yellow pals. 

Already one of the most anticipated movies of the summer for families hoping to have a little fun at the theater, The Rise of Gru has finally screened for its first audiences, and that means critics are starting to let us know how they feel about the film and its attempt to add a little prequel energy to the ever-expanding franchise. The verdict? So far, most major critics seem to be on board with the throwback sensibility of The Rise of Gru, praising its action sequences, '70s cinema tributes, and sense of humor in reviews at several publications.

Let's take a look at what they're saying:

"This overly familiar franchise could use a chapter where misguided Gru really does manage to be evil for a time. Instead, everything here is in service of either a laugh or an easy emotional reaction (Balda pulls the Puss in Boots trick of making the Minions’ eyes real big when they’re trying to get their way)," Peter Debruge wrote for Variety. "Six months into 2022, it’s the funniest film Hollywood has produced thus far. Audiences know what to expect, and Illumination delivers, offering another feel-good dose of bad behavior."

"Minions: The Rise of Gru will not usher in a new era of animation, nor change the way we treat prequels. What it will do is entertain kids with more Minions shenanigans, a fair number of fart jokes, and references to other characters in the franchise," Rafael Motamayor wrote at Slashfilm. "But where the film really shines is in how it takes Bruce Lee and Blaxploitation movies and wraps them around a Minions story. If even one kid comes out of this movie wanting to see more movies with kung fu, killer nuns, and badass Black women, then that'd be enough."

"This is just straightforward fun. It’s unlikely to win over anybody unmoved by the previous movies and likely to deliver exactly what you’re expecting if you’ve enjoyed everything so far," Olly Richards wrote at Empire. "Like the Minions, this installment is barely distinguishable from any of the others, but it’s easy to be won over by its nutty joy and enthusiasm."

Overall reviews are trending positive, with the film sitting at a respectable "Fresh" 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

You'll be able to decide for yourself when Minions: The Rise of Gru hits theaters this weekend.