Who doesn't love a good villain origin story, right? It's this that works for the latest movie in the Minions franchise, Minions: The Rise of Gru, directed by Kyle Balda. We've all seen Gru for years in the Despicable Me movies, and now, here's a chance to find out how exactly Gru started on a journey of crime and villainy. It's the '70s, and Gru is a young, 11 (and a 3/4th) year-old boy (voiced by Steve Carrell). He has only one aim in life — to be the best villain in the world. He's obsessed with a group called Vicious 6, and his life's greatest goal is to join them. He's especially enthralled by the group leader, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin). 

When he finds out they're hiring another member for their team, he immediately applies — yes, the interview process is very formal and structured! Through a convoluted comedy of errors, Gru finds himself and his minions embroiled in a tussle with the Vicious 6, where he must defeat them and save himself and Wild Knuckles. In his adventure, he's helped by his army of minions, especially Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto (Pierre Coffin). They have their own adventures, too, including learning kung-fu from a master and flying an aeroplane to San Francisco. The movie has some funny moments, especially when the minions are left to themselves. Gru's relationship with Knuckles — a blend of a mentor-mentee and partners relationship is well-explored and provides some of the finest moments in the film. It also brings up the need for personal connections even as one struggles to fulfil ambitions and achieve goals (even if said ambition is world domination). 

There's hero worship in this relationship but a lot of interdependence as well, and it gives an insight into what it's like to meet your heroes. This relationship clearly affects Gru's relationship with the minions (and later in his life, his daughters) as well as they all fade into the horizon at the end of the movie. The movie also looks at Gru's lonely childhood, without friends or maternal love. Maybe this invisibility makes him long to stand out and be seen; in the only way he knows how: by being bad. It's a familiar origin story, yet Gru manages to get empathy. The movie doesn't spend much time moralising — it accepts that it's cool to be bad and sticks to that throughout.

 The only real learning is that even super villains need friends. Minions: The Rise of Gru boasts of a stellar star cast — Steve Carrell, and Julie Andrews as Gru's mother are just the tip of the iceberg. Yet most of the cast has just a few lines each and are severely under-utilised in their roles. In fact, this is a problem with the characters too. Most of the characters aren't well-defined and have very little screen space. The minions don't develop a personality; we don't find out anything at all about the Vicious 6. It's difficult to connect with them or feel strongly about any of them. Yet, kids love the minions. They're entertaining and silly in a way kids can understand and appreciate. They're also bright and cute and win against much larger enemies multiple times in the movie. This makes for the perfect weekend outing and one-time watch with kids.