When last we saw Steve Carell’s animated villain Gru in his 2010 debut, he was raining his Blofeld-meets-Charles Addams misanthropic diabolism everywhere, stealing the moon, and getting his heart stolen in turn by three little orphan girls. Now, the ads tell us, Gru and his amusing, indeterminately borschty accent are back, bent on delivering more of that old megalomania. Don’t you believe it.
The animators and writers behind “Despicable Me 2” might have done well to call their movie something else — “Gru Out of Darkness,” maybe? — given the near total lack of despicability the reformed baddie displays here. (He lets his mutant pooch do its business on the neighbors’ shrubbery, and that’s about as dastardly as it gets.) The scope of the ’toon espionage-adventure goings-on is surprisingly limited, mostly confined to a mall, of all places. But the filmmakers so clearly love working on these characters — Gru’s yellow, mutant-elf Minions in particular — their creative joy is infectious. The sequel might not be all that warped, but it’s plenty funny nevertheless.