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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."
  • 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?
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  • 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.
  • Crack Ship: An odd case with Margo and Vector. At most, Vector is 10+ years older than her in terms of age. Not mention that he kidnapped her and her sisters and planned to keep them for who knows what.
  • Crossing the Line Twice: Most of the visual gags qualify as a child-friendly version of the trope. A rocket landing on a playground? Not funny. A rocket landing on the spinner thing causing it to spin incredibly fast while the children cheer? Hilarious.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The minions. The studio saw this coming, and gave them featured roles in all the promotion. Kevin and Dave in particular.
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  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Barring the possibility that Miss Hattie was simply too pissed off with Gru over his insulting her in Spanish to bother with any formalities, let alone verify who called to return the kids, between the climax and the epilogue with Gru and the kids which serves as the happy ending there had to have been some legal proceedings between Gru and Miss Hattie over custody of the kids which, for all the film's irreverent humor and Getting Crap Past the Radar, Illumination Entertainment apparently decided weren't worth depicting.
  • "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:
    • Vector's "magnitude and direction" line makes a lot more sense (and is funnier) for anyone that's taken physics.
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    • Even many of the adults in the first movie's audience didn't get the joke with "The Bank of Evil - Formerly Lehman Brothers".
  • 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.
    • Having Kristen Wiig voice the cruel Miss Hannigan expy Miss Hattie is this after Wiig voiced Lucy Wilde in the sequels, who loves the girls just as much as Gru does.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: There have been some comparisons between this and Megamind; showing a Villain Protagonist, his loyal minion named Minion, and then finding a love interest (which didn't happen to Gru until the sequel). Then in 2016, Universal, owner of Illumination and Despicable Me, acquired rights to DreamWorks Animation—the studio that made Megamind.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Pops up frequently between the Minions... assuming they're sexually dimorphic.
    • 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.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: It's obvious Edith survived the Iron Maiden.
  • Love to Hate: Vector manages to be one of the amusing factors of the film, thanks for his silliness and clumsiness.
  • 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.
    • “I will stuff you all in the crust!”
    • Gru's presentationExplanation 
    • Hella Gay Explanation 
    • Gru saying "gorls".
    • VectorFlightSuit.jpg
    • "Oh Poop"Explanation 
    • "You take the moon, and you take the moon..."
    • “DO YOU WANT TO EXPLODE?”
    • NoExplanation 
  • Moe: The girls, but especially Agnes.
  • 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: Hey, the carnival barker is Fix-It Felix!
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: When the movies were first released, the Minions were reasonably well-liked, to the point of becoming the franchise's Darkhorse Ensemble. However, between just how popular they are and the fact that they spawned a number of Suspiciously Similar Substitutes in other media, (such as the Happy Meal creatures in recent McDonald's ads and the lemmings in Norm of the North), nowadays many people find it hard to see what made them so popular in the first place. You can even see this in the aforementioned Inazuma Eleven crossovers (which were made shortly after the release of the first movie); the more recent the comments in the uploaded video get, the response to the crossover's existence gets gradually more negative.
  • 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The karaoke song about "Lola Banana" sung by one of the minions in the toy store sounds awfully familiar.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: There was a Jerkass man that ran a rigged shooting arcade game, cheating players out of their money, and not giving them their prizes just because it "wasn't knocked over" So when Mr. Gru blows up the arcade, and leaves the man in extreme pain, it's hard not to say, "he got what was coming to him."
  • 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, where Gru gives up villainy entirely.
  • Uncanny Valley: The CGI is noticeably more rubbery here than in the sequels, causing some character designs to look plastic and kind of weird looking at times. Possibly justified given this was Illumination's first movie.
  • 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.
  • 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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