Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Despicable Me Felonious Gru

Go To

Main Character Index | The Gru Family | Felonious Gru | The Antagonists | Other Characters

"We are going to steal...pause, for effect...the moon! And once the moon is mine, the world will give me whatever I want to get it back! And I will be the greatest villain of all time!"
Voiced by: Steve Carell

The strong, smart, big, hot-tempered, yet reluctant and serious protagonist of the franchise who has a Russian accent. A supervillain whose previous schemes including stealing the Times Square Jumbotron, the Statue of Liberty (actually the Las Vegas one) and the Eiffel Tower (also Vegas). When another villain shows him up by stealing the Pyramid of Giza, he decides to top that by stealing the moon. This will require a shrink ray, and to get his hands on it, he comes up with a plan involving three little orphan girls...

    open/close all folders 

  • Acrofatic: Well, while he's probably more bulky than fat, he can be far more agile than one would think.
  • Action Dad: Gru eventually becomes a true father figure of Margo, Edith, and Agnes as well as going through action-packed moments in order to accomplish a goal or protect his family.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Gru's response to a Minion making a mocking shadow puppet of him in the credits.
  • Adorkable: Despite his apparent jerkass nature, Gru is so awkward in social situations that he comes off as lovable.
  • Affably Evil: While Gru is a jerkass to anyone he personally doesn't care about, he shows a friendly side to his loved ones.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • Judging from his flashback in the sequel, the children of Gru's elementary school didn't like to be near him. They even said that being near him would give them "Gruties".
    • Gets this treatment in Despicable Me 2 by the AVL agents, except Lucy. Justified given that the organization are a group dedicated to fighting evil, and Gru was a villain.
  • Always Identical Twins: He and Dru are near identical, the only differences being in hair color (Gru had black and is now bald while Dru has a full head of blonde hair) and different color wardrobes (Gru is black and grey, Dru is white).
  • Amazon Chaser: For Lucy. Initially, Gru was completely annoyed with working with her in the sequel...until she shot Shannon (his obnoxious date) with a moose tranquilizer. Cue his Love Epiphany.
  • Ambiguously Evil: He was a villain in the past, and would still be a full-fledged one if it weren't for his Pet the Dog moments with his adopted daughters. In the sequel he's turned his back completely on his villainous ways and has a legitimate business as a jelly maker.
  • Animal Motifs: Gru's profile resembles an emperor penguin because emperor penguins (male ones) take very good care of their young.
  • Anti-Hero: After turning in his villainous ways, Gru switches to the hero side, but still keeps his negative qualities.
  • Anti-Villain: He started off as a villain, but he was still kind to Professor Nefario, the Minions, and eventually, the girls.
  • Attention Whore: He especially wants recognition from his mother.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: With Lucy in the sequel; they were posed this way in one of the sequel's posters.
  • Badass Adorable: Child Gru at the end of the Minions film.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: He even does it in the movies' logo....and does the arm fold with his body turned sideways.
  • Badass Biker:
    • In the sequel, Gru is one of these as she reveals his apparently custom-made motorcycle when he goes to rescue Lucy from Eduardo.
    • In Minions, he was one of these as a child.
  • Badass Boast: At the end of Minions.
    Scarlet Overkill: You have no idea who you're messing with! I am the greatest supervillain of all time!
    Young Gru: (Chuckles) Oh! Were you? (Chuckles again)
  • Badass Bookworm: Smart enough to build his own rocket as a child. Strong enough to punch a shark with one arm.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Wears a snazzy black suit at his and Lucy's wedding.
  • Badass in Charge: Gru has the command, loyalty, and even the affection of 10,400 Minions.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": When Gru and the two remaining Minions Stuart and Dave sneak into El Macho's base. "Curses! Foiled again! These guys captured me!" While striking exaggeratedly-upset poses and waving his fake handcuffs around.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Gru succeeds in stealing the moon. Subverted in that Gru puts it back into orbit after finding out that shrink ray's effects on the moon are only temporary.
  • Bald of Awesome: After his Heel–Face Turn, which becomes even more so when he joins the AVL in the sequel.
  • Bald of Evil: He's the Villain Protagonist who plans to steal the moon. And it's been repeatedly noted on how bald he is.
  • Battle Couple: After he and Lucy marry in the sequel, they have become this as the third movie shows them going on a mission to stop Bratt from stealing an important diamond.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The main reason behind Gru's Love Epiphany is Lucy doing a parody of Rescue Romance (see section below for more details) and after helping return the date home, Lucy comforts him about the disastrous date and then tells him that she personally likes his original appearance (i.e., his bald head) and then giving the guy a kiss on the cheek before leaving for the night.
  • Becoming the Mask: Gru as the girls' adoptive father — at first he only adopted them for his plans to steal back the shrinking ray from Vector. However, spending more and more time with the girls allows Gru to come and care for them like a real father to his daughters. Case in point, he gave up the moon for them so Vector would release the girls.
  • Benevolent Boss: The Minions adore him... and the feeling is mutual. He knows each of the almost-interchangeable Minions by name, they have holiday weeks and love their work. In the sequel, he was horrified to see the majority of his Minions locked in cages, and acting like a bunch of wild animals, and when he, Dave and Stuart try to infiltrate El Macho's base, he sends them up an antenna to get away from the mutated Minions that are surrounding them even though it meant there was no room for him.
  • Berserk Button: Do not outshine him in villainy. It will get your head frozen, just ask Vector.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Gains this for Dru — when his younger twin brother is seemingly killed by Bratt, Gru goes into Tranquil Fury to fight and defeat Bratt before frantically searching for his brother.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Gru may act like the usual villain: Egotistical, rude, selfish, dreams of achieving great evil, little empathy, and an all around Jerkass......get to actually know him and your opinion might change.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Has thick eyebrows.
  • Brainy Brunette: It was seen clearly in Gru's flashback in the sequel that he had black hair in his youth. Plus, at only 8 Gru was able to build a prototype rocket with some scraps he managed to find.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Gru definitely counts as a former one when he steals a crown from Scarlet, after freezing her and Herb, and not returning said crown to the Queen.
  • Break the Cutie:
  • Broken Ace: Introduced as the number one supervillain in the world, has the command of 10,000 Minions, and is a Gadgeteer Genius. And beneath his arrogant and jerkass nature, Gru has many insecurities that stem from his emotionally neglectful mother and lonely childhood.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: The Brooding Boy (anti-social and secretly insecure) to Lucy's Gentle Girl (comforting and energetic).
  • Bumbling Dad: Subverted. He's far from an idiot and his initial poor parenting skills of the girls was mainly an attitude of indifference since he was using them in his scheme. After standing up for them at Super Silly Funland, he starts taking his fatherly duties more seriously and turns out to be very good at it.
  • Butt-Monkey: Gru gets the most Slapstick inflicted on him out of everybody. No wonder he's so grumpy.
  • Cain and Abel: Downplayed. He opposes Dru at the end due to returning to the AVL while his brother becomes a supervillain, but they are still friendly with each other.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: In the third movie, Gru calls out his mother for the latter not telling him about his long lost twin brother Dru.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Gru has a habit of announcing his Freeze Ray, which Lucy lampshades.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: To Lucy. To the point where he gets mad at the phone and burns it with a flamethrower.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: In an Establishing Character Moment, he makes a balloon animal for a sad child and then pops it. He lives in a world where card-carrying supervillains are common enough to have their own bank to finance their schemes.
  • Catchphrase: "Light bulb..." But this only applies to the first movie.
  • Celibate Hero: It was revealed in the sequel, that due to a childhood incident, Gru feared rejection and gave up seeking a romantic relationship as a result. Then, he met Lucy Wilde; he became a subversion after they fall in love, date, and marry.
  • Character Development: Over the course of two films, he goes from a Jerk with a Hidden Heart of Gold to Heart of Gold with some jerky tendencies.
  • Character Tics: He often puts both of his hands behind his back.
  • Child Prodigy: Gru managed to build a working prototype rocket at the age of eight.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Minions have been following Gru as their boss when they saw him defeat their former boss, Scarlet, via freezing her (along with Herb) when he was eight.
  • Cool Bike: It's like the motorcycle version of the Grumobile.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Downplayed. He was visibly annoyed and angry at his twin brother Dru for charming Lucy while holding her, but doesn't do anything violent.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The trailers of the first film make him out to be an exceptional villain, but in the film, he's fairly low-key and far too nice to be an effective villain. It takes Vector kidnapping the girls for his true potential to show up.
  • Cruella to Animals: Implied. The main example is the crocodile couch in his living room.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Manages to set up a surprisingly effective jam-and-jelly manufacturing plant using his old inventions, though there are some teething problems. Turns out that making a jelly out of every known kind of berry doesn't yield a particularly tasty product.

  • Dark and Troubled Past: His early life wasn't easy. His father left him after he divorced his mother and his father took his brother away as well; during his childhood his mother was emotionally abusive; all of his peers rejected him; and he at some point turned to villainy.
  • Dark Is Evil: Gru wears dark clothing and is evil, or more precisely 'despicable', anyone can get.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: What Gru truly is due to his Hidden Heart of Gold. It was finally brought out with the adoption of his three girls.
  • Deadpan Snarker: If there's one thing Gru loves to do, it's snarking it up.
  • Defrosting Ice King: His basic M.O. on how he gets close to people — He initially acts like a jerk to them, but after a significant turning point he grows to care for them a lot.
    • In the first movie, he initially only takes in the girls as a way to further his scheme of stealing back the shrinking ray from Vector. But after winning Agnes a unicorn toy and bonding with them more, Gru gradually falls in love (platonically) with the trio.
    • In the second movie, his first meeting with Lucy wasn't ideal as he attempted to freeze ray her and he retaliated by using her lipstick taser on him. And even when they working together, he maintained a cold attitude towards her...until Lucy saved him from an obnoxious date and told him she liked his bald head better than the wig. Cue Love Epiphany.
    • The credits in Minions show that he was initially cold towards the Minions but gradually came to love them.
  • Determinator: When he wants something, he'll stop at nothing to get it.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Gru's plenty smart, and he comes up with a plan to steal the moon (although has to put it back since the shrink ray was temporary).
  • Doting Parent: To all his daughters. He gives them all the love he has.
  • Drives Like Crazy: He's extremely aggressive and drives a massive tank of a car.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: His lab located underground of his home.
  • Embarrassing First Name: It's Felonious. No one calls him that. Not his daughters, or his mother (she refers to him as "Son"), or his wife. Not even his brother.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Gru is shown to be Affably Evil as he makes a balloon for a crying boy only to pop it and when he goes into a coffee shop, he freezes everyone around him so he could be first in line but tips the cashier before he leaves (though he doesn't actually pay for the coffee or muffin).
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The whole reason Gru wanted to steal the moon is to finally impress his mother.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Gru truly cares about his Minions and later begins to truly love the girls. Then, he falls head over heels with Lucy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He was appalled that a carnie cheated Agnes out of a stuffed unicorn (that she won legitimately) on a technicality. This, and his smile shortly after are the first signs of him Becoming the Mask.
  • Evil Is Petty: Prior to his Heel–Face Turn. Gru hits the cars in front and back of his monstrosity of a vehicle repeatedly while he's parallel parking. Not out of ineptitude, mind you, he parks perfectly; he does it just because it will make two strangers' days a little worse.
  • Evil Laugh: Wouldn't be a villain without one. It has even become his Signature Laugh.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Him vs. Vector in Despicable Me. Both are trying to steal the shrinking ray for their own reasons.
  • Facepalm: Gru's reaction to Dr. Nefario's "Boogie Robots" and the "Fart Gun".
  • Family Man: Gru is considered a "family man" because of his treatment of his Minions, not hesitating to rescue them if they're in trouble (as seen in DM2.) This trope becomes straight when he adopts and later cares about the 3 young orphaned girls who ended up loving him as a real father.
  • Fan Disservice: Some may consider the two separate shots of Gru in a swimsuit to be this too.
  • Fat Bastard: Downplayed. He's not fat, but has a lot of muscular bulk that could be mistaken for fatty tissue. And way back in Despicable Me, he's a jerkass, but is nice to those he cares for, mainly his family, and his Character Development has him become more kinder (albeit, still more to his family).
  • A Father to His Men: On top of being a Benevolent Boss, Despicable Me 3 implies that the minions see him as a father-figure, Mel's flashbacks showing him wrapping his wounded leg after crashing his bike, cheering him up with his paper-plane fails and fishing with him by a pier.
  • Female Flatfoot and Snarky Guy: The Snarky Guy to Lucy's Female Flatfoot. In Despicable Me 2, Gru is now a retired villain and he's assigned by the AVL to work with the rookie agent Lucy in a mission. While initially not thrilled to work with her, he comes to get along with Lucy and even falls in love with her.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: In Despicable Me 2, Gru's fear of romantic love was a result of his apparent first crush, Lisa, harshly rejecting him before he told her he liked her as she was part of the Kids Are Cruel group who alienated a young Gru.
  • Freeze Ray: His main weapon. He has one that he uses on several customers in a coffee shop. As well as Vector at one point.
  • Freudian Excuse: He tried to gain his mother's respect ever since he was little, but she never acknowledged his talents. His school life also wasn't great either, because the other kids treated him like he was a walking fatal disease and didn't want to be near him.
  • Friendless Background: Before he met Dr. Nefario and the Minions, Gru didn't have any friends, as seen in his flashback in Despicable Me 2.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Gru doesn't build most of things in his lab, but he was able to build a prototype rocket and hadn't hit puberty yet.
  • Gag Nose: He has a distinctly big pointed nose. During his wedding at the end of the sequel, he and Lucy (who also has a large nose) try to kiss, but they both touch, so they tilt their heads to kiss.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's smart enough to build workable rockets out of whatever scrap he can find (or even macaroni when he was a kid), and is strong enough to punch out a shark.
  • Good Parents: Gru eventually becomes a caring and devoted father to his three girls.
  • Goofy Print Underwear:
    • Gru wears underpants with smileys, as seen in their escape from Vector's fortress.
    • In Despicable Me 3, he is shown wearing a skull printed black boxer shorts.
  • Groin Attack: A constant victim of this in each Despicable Me movie.
    • Despicable Me — Twice from a robotic arm when breaking into Vector's lair, once later on, and a fourth one at the end.
    • Despicable Me 2 — Antonio does this to Gru at the Cinco de Mayo party when the latter keeps the former from dancing with Margo.
    • Despicable Me 3 — Gru gets this again from a pig.
  • Gun Fu: Shows incredible skill for this in the Despicable Me 2 climax.
  • Guns Akimbo: In the second movie's climax, Gru wield two guns with the serum's antidote.

  • Happily Married: To Lucy — they work effectively as a Battle Couple, provide comfort to one another during a time of stress, and have a healthy communication with each other.
  • Harmless Villain: He doesn't really do anything overly dastardly, at least in the animated film's universe (in Real Life, the consequences of stealing the Moon would be much more horrific). Yes, Gru freezes a few people, but the freezing is implied to be harmless.
  • Heartbroken Badass:
    • In Despicable Me, when the girls are taken away by Miss Hattie because Nefario called her. He doesn't clear up the misunderstanding and becomes depressed over his inaction.
    • In Despicable Me 2, Gru began to develop romantic feelings for Lucy after after she saved him from a very bad date. The next day? He was practically beaming with joy! Then, the whole case they were working on ends and Silas informs Gru that Lucy will be reassigned to Australia. Despite how he doesn't want her to leave, Gru wishes her all the best; and they say their sad goodbyes. Needless to say, Gru immediately became depressed and heartbroken over the strong possibility of never seeing Lucy again; his conversation with Agnes only made it worse.
  • Heel–Face Turn: This is a plot of the first film. It begins when he experiences this at the amusement park. After a Jerkass target shooting booth attendant rips off little Agnes, who hits the target but fails to knock it over, Gru (whom the Jerk Ass also insults, before learning he's been Bullying a Dragon - or, rather, Mugging the Monster, since the schmuck had no idea Gru was a Pistol Packing Evil Genius) growls "My turn!", whips an absolutely freaking GINORMOUS disintegrator pistol out of his Hyperspace Arsenal and not only destroys the target, but also the rest of the booth and most of the smug Attendant's hair, thus winning the prize for Agnes. ("Knocked O-VER!!!") The look on Gru's face as the girls react by showing true affection for him for the very first time is wonderful. Even Margo, the most skeptical one, pays tribute to his Moment of Awesome. When they arrive back home after a Gilligan Cut, Gru is laughing along with the girls and his redemption is complete.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Zigzagged. Gru is initially terrified of Kyle, his pet "dog" (to be honest Gru isn't entirely sure of Kyle's species). Gru also started off as a villain before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Falls for and later marries the redhead Lucy in Despicable Me 2.
  • Heroic Build: Zigzagged. Gru does have a broad build, but he starts off as a Card-Carrying Villain in the first movie before an official Heel–Face Turn.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Dr. Nefario — Partners in villainy and close friends for a long time.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Gru spends most of the first film relying on technology to do his dirty work; in almost every case, it doesn't work properly, doesn't work well enough, or isn't what he needed or wanted in the first place. And then he takes on heat seeking missiles, followed by a shark. Bare handed. And doesn't break a sweat.
    • His original dream was to be an astronaut.
    • Him making pancakes in different shapes for the girls and creating a near-identical macaroni design of a space rocket (as a child) shows that Gru is a pretty good artist.
    • He's a pretty good dancer.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: He pulls this off very impressively. Not only are the missiles in question heat-seeking, but he jumps over them and even runs on top of one.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: The emotional abuse he received from his mother is often Played for Laughs.
  • Hopeless Suitor: To his childhood crush, Lisa note . He attempted to ask her out, but she was part of the Kids Are Cruel group who wanted to be as far away from a young Gru as possible.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The Huge Guy to Lucy's Tiny Girl. To note, Lucy is taller than Gru because she wears high heels (without her heels she might still be taller than him or just about his height). Gru is still more muscular and bulky than Lucy.
  • Husky Russkie: Gru is a big guy with a thick, Russian-like accent.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: To represent his aloof, jerkass demeanor.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: His Attention Whore attitude stems from the lack of his mother's emotional support and having zero friends in his childhood.
  • Imagine Spot: Twice in the first film and one in the third.
    • The first one in Despicable Me — he imagines the girls carrying out the shrink ray from Vector's house.
    • The second one in Despicable Me — he imagines sending the girls away via in a rollercoaster and then doing a ballet dance in celebration.
    • The only one he had in Despicable Me 3 — he imagines smugly returning the Dupont diamond to Valerie, who is showering Gru with gratitude before he smacks the diamond in her face. Lucy then playfully squishes his face while congratulating before he lifts her in the air surrounded by applause.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Towards Lucy. Justified because of a traumatic experience he had dealing with his first crush.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Nefario. This post from Word of God reveals they met in Gru's youth after he created a science fair project that caught Nefario's attention. And they have been close friends well into Gru's fifties and Nefario's seventies/eighties.
  • Jerkass: At first. His first on-screen time is committing a number of Kick the Dog moments; he's a Diabolical Mastermind who revels in his status as a Card-Carrying Villain. He adopts three orphaned girls for selfish reasons and initially treats them quite poorly but...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He eventually has a Heel–Face Turn and becomes a true father to the girls he adopts as part of his plan, even going Papa Wolf for them in the end. He's also a Benevolent Boss who treats his minions as individuals rather than Faceless Mooks (though they are used as guinea pigs for experiments).
  • Karma Houdini: Gru goes unpunished for all of his crimes he committed before and during the first movie. Silas comments in the sequel that had Gru kept on with his villainy, he would've been the AVL's next target.
  • Kick the Dog: This is even Gru's Establishing Character Moment in the first movie — In his first appearance, Gru comforts a child who has dropped an ice-cream cone by... giving him a balloon, after twisting it into some kind of four-legged animal. He then produces a pin and pops said balloon, and walks off contentedly. Cut to a shocked child with bits of balloon stuck to his face. Yes, he's despicable. His jerkness is further established in the car he drives, an ugly polluting rocket shaped monstrosity; in the fact that he bumps other cars out of the way to park, and when he goes in to the cafe to get a coffee he freezes all the other customers with his freeze ray and goes to the front of the line to get his coffee (which probably was meant for someone else). At least he tips well.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: When he obliterates the carny's booth with his laser cannon after the latter makes fun of Agnes' failed attempt to win her stuffed unicorn.
  • Large and in Charge: A broad-chested man with the loyalty of 10,000 Minions.
  • Last-Name Basis: Though his first name is revealed briefly in two places—the family tree, and his false information on Miss Hattie's computer when pretending to be a dentist. It's Felonious, in case you were wondering.
  • Laughably Evil: Introduced as an exceptional villain and Diabolical Mastermind. Some of his worst schemes include successfully stealing the miniature Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower from Las Vegas.
  • Laugh of Love: At their wedding, he and Lucy are laughing while dancing together.
  • Leitmotif:
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In the first film's climax when he raids Vector's base to rescue the girls.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He's pretty agile for a guy drawn so top-heavy. Of course, this really only comes into play when he breaks into Vector's compound to rescue the girls.
  • Looks Like Orlok: He is bald, has a hooked nose, a hunched back, and a trenchcoat.
  • Love at First Punch: More like love at first lipstick taser zap! Courtesy of AVL Agent, Lucy Wilde. It might have been a more subconscious desire for Lucy, but it began there.
  • Love Redeems: His love for the girls causes him to pull Heel–Face Turn.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Gru's Villainmobile can do this.
  • Made of Iron: While trying to get into Vector's base, Gru gets repeatedly hit with stuff, bitten, and missiled... but suffers no visible damage other than comically blackened skin. The same thing happens when he breaks into El Macho's base in the sequel, with darts being substituted for missiles.
  • Mad Scientist: Downplayed. He lets Dr. Nefario do most of the scientific/mechanical work but he is seen helping him from time to time (Gru was able to build a real rocket when he was a child).
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: In the second movie, he meets Lucy, who would soon become his wife, when she stuns him with her lipstick taser and kidnaps him.
  • May–December Romance: Lucy's age is left ambiguous, but she doesn't look any than older than 20-30. Word of God confirmed Gru to be in his fifties, and they end up marrying each other, so it counts.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Gru grew.
    • He's also a felon named Felonious.
    • GRU is also the acronym for Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye, the Soviet (and later Russian) military intelligence directorate. Early drafts played the Cold War elements more heavily than the final script, so it may be an Artifact Title.
    • Grus is the genus for Cranes, which have long, pointed beaks, just like Gru.
  • Motifs: Of the moon, especially in the first movie. His main goal in the movie was to steal the actual moon (which he succeeded) and his childhood dream was to be an astronaut.
  • Nerd Glasses: In the sequel. When the girls are signing up Gru for online dating, they see a picture of him, in his 20s, wearing glasses.
  • Nerves of Steel: Combined with Tranquil Fury, and only achieved if someone hurts his loved ones.
  • Noble Demon: He is the supervillain who goes out of his way to support a trio of orphans who seem to have become attached to him. And before that, his treatment of his minions.

  • Offhand Backhand: Gru does a shark!
  • Older Than He Looks: Although his age isn't specifically known, at first glance Gru may look like he's around his early 40s or mid 30s. Gru is actually in his early 50s; the sequel makes this clear by having another kid mention the Apollo 11 moon landing in Gru's flashback.
  • Opposites Attract: The sarcastic, Jerk with a Heart of Gold, (near) Perpetual Frowner Gru fell in love with the bubbly, Nice Girl, (near) Perpetual Smiler Lucy.
  • Overprotective Dad: Become this in the sequel as he's against Margo having a relationship with a boy.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not mess with Agnes, Edith, or Margo unless you want to suffer. In general, anyone hurting his loved ones is just asking for a death sentence.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • In the beginning of "Despicable Me 2," he dresses up as a Fairy Princess for Agnes' birthday. While Agnes, Margo, and Edith were able to see through the disguise, the other kids are easily fooled.
    • He and his brother also pretend to act like one another in the 3rd movie. Nobody buys the disguises.
  • Parental Abandonment: Subverted. He attempts to leave the girls at Super Silly Funland after his scheme was successful, but after winning a prize for Agnes, he doesn't go through with it.
  • Parental Neglect: To the girls in the first movie. Although he is more of a "ridiculously clueless parent" at that point. He gets better.
  • Pet the Dog: Gru might be a villain, but he is a boss who knows the names to all of his employees.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Gru is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who only shows his soft side to his family and friends, and wears black and grey, while Dru is a friendly Nice Guy who wears all white.
  • Prematurely Bald: It is known that he started balding before the age of 40.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Implied. Despite being fairly talented at being a super villain, it does not take much for him to give up the villain lifestyle. His Kick the Dog moments come across as more signs of his anti-social behavior and a desire to impress his emotionally-distant mother, eventually becoming more open and less cynical when he bonds with his adopted daughters. While Dr. Nefario and the minions miss committing evil acts, even leaving on occasion to explore new opportunities, Gru shows no signs of being tempted back into the lifestyle. When Dru convinces him to stage a heist, he lies about wanting to get back into villainy in order to use his deceased father's resources to get back into the Anti-Villain League's good graces.
  • Punny Name: Gru speaks with a Russian accent. The GRU is one of Russia's intelligence services. When the girls find Gru's underground base, he admits that he's not a dentist, but instead a spy. Likewise, Felonious started out as a felon.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: In the first film, Gru wears a pink astronaut suit by the time he gets to the moon to shrink it. Of course, the reason it's pink is because he washed it in the same load as the girls' pink tutus, but hey, he still wears it! He also attends his daughters' ballet recitals after some resistance that had more to do with being busy than with not wanting to be seen at a ballet class. In the sequel he dresses up in a pink fairy costume when the woman he hired to come to Agnes' birthday party cancels at the last minute.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The deadpan, blunt blue to Lucy's excitable, Hot-Blooded red.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: He may be retired from being a villain, but his villainous tendencies still show occasionally. He can still be an outright Jerkass on a few occasions and is very much still a badass.
  • Refusal of the Call: Gru initially refuses to help the AV track down the PX 1 serum, citing that he is now a father and can't get involved in any danger.
  • Reformed Criminal: He retires from being a villain after adopting Margo, Edith and Agnes.
  • Rescue Romance: His relationship with Lucy started to change after she saved him from an obnoxious date via moose tranquilizer; he returns the favor by saving her from a rocket headed to a volcano.
  • Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: The Rude Hero to Lucy's Nice Sidekick. In the sequel, Gru may have retired as a villain, but he's still a jerk to anyone who isn't part of his family. His partner Lucy, on the other hand, is a bubbly Nice Girl who's friendly to everyone.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: The sarcastic, aloof Savvy Guy to Lucy's peppy, spunky Energetic Girl.
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: Gru wears a gray and black striped one.
  • Separated at Birth: Not long after Gru and Dru were born, their parents, Robert and Marlena, got divorced. Baby Gru and Baby Dru are crying and reaching their arms out to each other when Marlena (holding Gru) and Robert (holding Dru) permanently go their separate ways. Robert took Dru with him and Gru stayed with Marlena.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Gru towards Dru. This happens when Gru immediately sees Dru's blond hair and his wide grin.
  • Signature Laugh: "Mm. Mm. Ha ha ha ha ha!"
  • Sinister Schnoz: He has a long and pointy nose and starts off as a full-fledged villain. Subverted on the villain part after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: This old photo shows Gru used to wear glasses in youth, presumably at the time he was getting into his villain business.
  • Solar and Lunar: A subtle one with Lucy and he's the Lunar. He uses a freeze ray (the moon is known for being extremely cold), has a bald head, his Love Epiphany for Lucy was at night, and he mainly wears black clothing (the usual color that surrounds the moon).
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the first film, when Gru's profile is shown on Miss Hattie's computer, his first name is spelled as "Felonious," and in the Gru Family Tree, it's spelled as "Felonius."
  • Stout Strength: Downplayed. Gru is on the large side (Lucy even called him "fat man"), but it's more broad muscle than actual fat.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Gru once took down a shark in one hit but struggles a lot against a small chicken.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • If you look closely at his family tree, he's the spitting image of his father, Robert Gru, just with no hair on his head or chin.
    • Him and his identical twin brother look almost exactly alike, the only differences are the hair color and the fact that Gru is bald and a different choice in clothing. Justified since they are identical twin brothers.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Gru only acts caring and friendly to those he's closest too, mainly his family. To everyone else, he's indifferent and aloof.


Example of: