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  • Acceptable Targets
    • Apparently the shrink ray was created in (and stolen from) North Korea.note 
    • "Bank of Evil, formerly Lehman Bros."
  • Adorkable:
    • Lucy is sweet, dorky, excitable, and appears to have the mind of a child at times.
    • The Minions are 10,400 cuddly, accident-prone, small, and yellow humanoids that you want to hug all day, to the point they became Breakout Characters.
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    • Margo gains some tendencies in the sequel when she gets her first crush. Much of her behavior around him is so awkward it's impossible not to love.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Did Mr. Perkins set Vector up to steal the moon instead of Gru to help his son remain the most successful villain, just to spite Gru, or to help cover the loss of money loaned to Gru, considering how he mentions how "lucrative" stealing the moon would be, not to mention him seeming legitimately unconvinced that Gru could pull off the heist?
    • Is Gru's mom a mean Abusive Parent who likes to make her son miserable? Or is she rightfully exasperated with him for choosing a villain career, thinking he could do much better with his life?
  • Base-Breaking Character: The minions are either the best or worst parts of the franchise, based on how much (or how little) you enjoy their brand of physical comedy. The fact that they have spawned many copies only adds fuel to the fire.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: After Gru steals the moon, a werewolf turns back to normal. This is the only supernatural element in any of the three films, by the way, and doesn't really fit in other than being Played for Laughs.
  • Crack Pairing: An odd case with Margo and Vector. At most, Vector is 10+ years older than her in terms of age. Not to mention that he kidnapped her and her sisters and planned to keep them for who knows what.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Gru's Imagine Spot when he gets the idea to leave the girls at Super Silly Fun Land (i.e. pulling a lever that sends them going up a roller coaster track with a large arrow reading "GOODBYE").
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The minions. The studio saw this coming, and gave them featured roles in all the promotion. Kevin and Dave in particular.
  • Fan Nickname: Doofenshmirtz: The Movie, with all the similarities the character of Gru has. The critic's nickname Wile E. Coyote Vs. Wile E. Coyote also counts.
  • First Installment Wins:
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    • While the sequels aren't seen as bad per-se, the first film remains the only film in the franchise that is regarded to be pretty good by most, as the other films have a more mixed, So Okay, It's Average reception by comparison.
    • The first film also counts as one for Illumination as a whole reception wise, as it is still largely considered by many to be their best film when compared to their later work, which, while doing better financially, have received more mixed-to-negative scores from critics and audiences by comparison.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The film has a bank that invests in supervillany. Two years after the movie's release, it was revealed that HSBC had been knowingly laundering money for terrorists, drug smugglers, and tinpot dictators the world over.
  • Genius Bonus:
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Japan is obsessed with the Minions so much that they made their own Minion-themed area inside Universal Studios Japan, where the Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride often gets 200 minute wait times. Japan also made them and Agnes appear in an episode of Inazuma Eleven.
    • The Minions are also massive in the Philippines, and there are even claims that some of the gibberish they mutter is actually Tagalog.
    • The franchise is also big in South America. In the countries on that continent, whenever a new Despicable Me film comes out, it will usually top the box office for at least three weeks. The Minions spin-off is also the highest-grossing film of all time in Chile.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • The minion's cheering for Gru in their first appearance is a lot nicer after seeing their struggles to finding a boss and meeting Gru as a child. Even better, they break their long-infamous tradition of accidentally killing their chosen master and instead successfully save them!
    • In the first film, Kristen Wiig voices the cruel Miss Hannigan expy Miss Hattie, who despises the girls and does everything she can to make their lives with her miserable. As the character doesn't appear in any of the sequels, Wiig was recast as Lucy Wilde, who loves the girls just as much as Gru does.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay:
    • Pops up frequently between the Minions, which are confirmed to be all males.
    • The way Vector introduces himself to Gru is...either very socially awkward, a bad attempt at flirting or both.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: The Minions are a source of bile in various circles for all of the popularity and overuse they have gotten. In Minions and in Despicable Me 3 they were accused of ruining the franchise and stealing the spotlight that should have gone to Gru and the girls.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Gru himself qualifies as this. Sure, he's a mean guy, but look at all his flashbacks to him as a kid with his mom dismissing his claims that he'll go to the moon (and not being encouraging overall to begin with) and the utterly crushed looks on his little face. Not to mention his reaction to his adopted girls been taken away to keep it from being a distraction to him.
    • The sequel also revealed that Gru was a social outcast in school. The other kids completely avoided him and feared that if he touches them, they will get "Gruties." Seeing his heartbroken expression from this is just agonizing.
  • Love to Hate: Vector manages to be one of the amusing factors of the film, thanks for his silliness and clumsiness.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Dr. Joseph Albert Nefario is the brilliant Mad Scientist who works alongside Felonious Gru in his villainous escapades. Assisting Gru in most of his greatest schemes through use of Nefario's strategic and technically sound mind, Nefario constructs cookie robots, a massive rocket ship out of scrap metal, and other ingenious inventions while steering Gru into staying on the path of evil. Eventually growing to care for Gru's adopted children, Nefario helps Gru save them repeatedly from harm, and even when Nefario betrays Gru and joins with El Macho to help him dominate the planet, Nefario returns to Gru's side when El Macho threatens Gru and the girls, Nefario taking down El Macho personally and reuniting with Gru as allies once more.
  • Memetic Badass: Gru quickly became one, mostly due to his most impressive Papa Bear moment in the first film where he almost effortlessly breaks into Vector's fortress (which he previously couldn't infiltrate for the life of him) to rescue the girls, during which he threatens Vector, cleanly dodges homing missiles and punches a shark in the face. That in turn spawned this copypasta that only helped things along.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "HE'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE!" and "IT'S SO FLUFFY!"
    • The minions. Somehow, they've mutated from a Mascot Mook to the symbol of "Facebook wine moms" everywhere.
    • Gru's presentationExplanation 
    • Hella Gay Explanation 
    • Gru saying "gorls".
    • VectorFlightSuit.jpg / "You just got Vectored." Explanation 
    • OH YEAH!Explanation 
    • "Oh Poop"Explanation 
    • NoExplanation 
    • "In terms of money, we have no money."Explanation 
  • Moe: The three girls are adorable Heartwarming Orphans, especially Agnes, because she's the youngest and the most innocent.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Surprisingly for a kids' movie, two.
    • Miss Hattie crosses it when she introduces the "box of shame".
    • Just so we don't feel too sorry for nerdy and seemingly wimpy villain Vector when he gets trapped on the Moon, he tries to keep Gru from rescuing Margo from the about-to-explode spaceship.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The Despicable Me games for the Nintendo DS and Wii are fun puzzle games starring Gru's minions.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The carnival barker is voiced by Jack McBrayer, who would later go on to voice Fix-It Felix.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The Minions were lauded as the movie's funniest characters and became the series' Ensemble Dark Horse group. This, of course, wound up leading to other companies wanting a piece of the pie and coming up with their own Minion-like characters themselves. (i.e. McDonald's Happy Meal creatures, the elves in Dreamworks' Rise of the Guardians, and the lemmings in Norm of the North, etc.) The verbally-impaired-friends/helpers-of-the-protagonist trope has seen so much use that anyone who went back to watch the movie that broke it into the mainstream will likely fail to see the appeal of the quirky Minions.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Justin, the rambunctious kid from the movie's opening, is a decent match for Edith, given their love for destruction and mischief. However, they don't interact at all, Justin is never seen again after the opening, and they presumably live in different countries.
  • Signature Scene: Gru destroying the jerkass carnival barker's stand with his plasma gun to get Agnes the stuffed unicorn. "Knocked ooooooooo-ver!!"
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The karaoke song about "Lola Banana" sung by one of the minions in the toy store sounds awfully familiar.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Miss Hattie never appears again after Nefario calls her to take the girls away. She suffers no consequences for how she treats the children in her care, and doesn't even serve as an obstacle to Gru getting the girls back in the ending.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The revelation that Vector is Mr. Perkins' son doesn't really amount to anything aside from Vector finding out that Gru stole back the shrink ray. This is made even more jarring by the fact that Perkins does not appear any later in the movie. Or even in any of the sequels, either, where it would have made perfect sense for him to return with a larger role.
    • Most "villain becomes a hero" stories have a hero to rise up against them. Wreck-It Ralph had Fix-it Felix, and Megamind had Metro Man. This movie doesn't appear to have any hero to rise up against Gru. Law enforcement is mostly lacking in this universe, and the Anti-Villain League wasn't introduced until the sequel after Gru has already given up villainy entirely.
    • After Gru rescues the girls from Vector, they're immediately shown living with him again. Barring the possibility that Miss Hattie was simply too pissed off at Gru to bother with any formalities, the legal proceedings that would have realistically had to happen for Gru to regain custody of the girls is completely skipped over.
  • Uncanny Valley: Due to being Illumination's first full-length film, the textures and rendering are notably less advanced and detailed than other, more prolific animated films at the time, causing many of the characters to look plastic and overly rubbery. This was remedied in the franchise's subsequent instalments, which had higher budgets to allow for improved animation technology.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Due to her short hair (at least compared to Margo and Agnes), deep voice and general tomboyish behavior, it can be pretty easy to mistake Edith for a boy.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: While the Minions are generally voiced by the film's directors, you'll be surprised to learn that some of them are also voiced by Jemaine Clement of all people! (Clement notably voices Jerry, the Minion who says "WHAAAAT?!")
  • The Woobie:
    • Gru has his moments of this, especially with his mommy issues.
    • The girls, when they're in the orphanage.
    • The nameless boy whose ice cream is on the ground and whose balloon is popped.
    • Agnes's unicorn toy.
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