- Alternative Character Interpretation: Could Valerie Da Vinci be a disguise of Balthazar Bratt? Like Bratt, she dresses in shoulder pads and wears purple, and given Bratt's acting abilites, it wouldn't be hard to imagine he could pull this off. This would also clear up the confusion of how Bratt learned Gru was fired from the AVL, as CinemaSins pointed out. Also shows why she doesn't appear again.
- Author's Saving Throw:
- In response to some complaints about Gru receiving Badass Decay after joining the Anti-Villain League, this film's story begins with Gru and Lucy being fired and the main plot has Gru go back to villainy in order to steal back the diamond, though this is mainly an act to fool Dru as he plans to return it to the AVL.
- Much like Lightning McQueen in Cars 3, after the massive backlash towards the minion's expanded role in the second film and their own film, this film's focus is set almost entirely on Gru and his family, while the Minions spend the majority of the film separated from the main events of the story.
- Adding to that, Edith was seen as a waste of character potential, especially how she (and her sisters) were Out of Focus in the previous movie. In this movie, she gets more characterization and screen-time equal to that of her sisters.
- Awesome Music: Bratt listens to the hits from the eighties while committing crimes. Bad, Sussudio, Into the Groove, Take on Me, Money for Nothing and Jump all make appearances.
- Crack Pairing: Dru x Bratt, even though they have never had a formal talk with one another and become true enemies after Bratt kidnapped Dru's nieces and tried to kill his brother.
- Critic-Proof: While the film received less favorable reviews than its predecessors, it was able to become the franchise's second highest-grossing film worldwide and the first in the main series to gross more than $1 billion overall. It was only beaten out by Minions of all entries.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Bratt kidnapping the girls while doing a convincing impersonation of Lucy is both awesome and somewhat scary, but some laughs have to be had at the fact that he carries out the majority of the kidnapping without a mask, meaning that he's just wearing drag when he takes off with them.
- Esoteric Happy Ending: Due to defeating Bratt, Gru and Lucy are reinstated in the AVL. The former has reconciled with the Minions and Dru; the latter has been accepted as a mother figure by the girls. However, Dru and the Minions decide to continue doing villainy, in the same home no less, meaning that the Gru family are technically enemies now, though he treats his antics more as an amusing annoyance than a shocking betrayal.
- Evil Is Cool: Balthazar Bratt, due to his awesome tendencies and for being played by Trey Parker.
- Evil Is Sexy: Bratt is not only cool, but has also clearly gained himself more than a few fans that see him as incredibly attractive, due in no small part to factors such as his appearance and considerably suggestive behaviour.
- Fanfic Fuel: How exactly did Dr. Nefario end up freezing himself in carbonite?
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- Bratt's backstory involves him being kicked off his show due to puberty causing his voice to break and him being too old to play his part. In this film, Elsie Fisher (the original voice of Agnes) was replaced by Nev Scharrel for the exact same reason. Though she would later star in the critically acclaimed Eighth Grade, so there is a silver lining.
- Lucy's struggle with motherhood is harder not only because she's new to it, but also because of her backstory which involved her parents being killed by a villain when she was very young.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- South Park's 20th season tackled the dangers of Nostalgia Filter. Now, Trey Parker is playing a Former Child Star who refuses to give up his outdated look and mannerisms.
- A small one — the voice actor for the previous antagonist, Eduardo Perez/El Macho, was Benjamin Bratt. The antagonist in this movie is Balthazar Bratt.
- A poster at a studio where the Minions are auditioning at is called "Sing!" Not exactly the same as Illumination's last film with this title.
- One of the billboards in Hollywood is advertising a film called "Soul".
- Jerkass Woobie: Bratt may be an immature and arrogant jerkass, but his show was cancelled and he was humiliated simply due to going through puberty and growing "too old".
- Just Here for Godzilla: More than a few South Park fans are only interested in this movie because Trey Parker voices Balthazar Bratt.
- Moral Event Horizon: Bathazar Bratt was already a contemptible psychopath with no remorse for any of his horrid actions (all because of his show being canceled and his popularity being decimated), but he most definitely crosses the line when he not only kidnaps the girls and traps them inside his giant robot, but he "releases" them by placing them on the edge of a skyscraper. And if that wasn't enough, Bratt later attempts to burn unconscious Gru alive with his robot's laser and most certainly would've killed him had Dru not destroyed the robot's generator. Not to mention the fact that there were still people in Hollywood, people that could easily have been killed if Bratt had succeeded in bubble-gumming the city and sending it into space.
- Narm: Dru yelling "We are no longer brothers!" at Gru during their Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure. While Dru is a bit of an eccentric Manchild, his line sounds more like a childish threat than him actually wanting to break any connection with Gru.
- Narm Charm:
Bratt: How did this show never win an Emmy?!
- Evil Bratt invokes this trope, and is implied to be considered this In-Universe as well. The filmmakers clearly made an effort to make the show look as fake as possible, e.g. the "robot" is just Bratt in a paper-mache costume (his eyes are clearly visible through the mask) and the "floating city" is just a model city being awkwardly lifted past a green screen of space. Yet Bratt seems to think it's a masterpiece.
Boy in commercial: No more math! I've been a bad boy! Ha ha ha!Commercial announcer: Mega-Diamond laser does not actually incinerate books.
- Related to the above, at one point, Bratt is shown watching a commercial for an Evil Bratt action figure. Like the TV show, it intentionally invokes this trope.
- So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus of the movie — It's not as good as its two direct predecessors but is not as bad as Minions. For that matter, the film currently has a "61%" on Rotten Tomatoes, which is lower than the first ("81%") and second ("73%") but it's still a fresh score.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
- While the girls have their own subplots, them getting more involved into the main plot, especially since they are siblings and the main theme is Sibling Rivalry, would have been an interesting matter.
- The trailers implied that Mel would serve as a secondary antagonist in the film by leading the minions in an uprising against Gru. While Mel does convince the minions to quit after Gru refuses to go back to villainy, the minions completely disappear from the main plot and spend the majority of the film just walking around and then end up in prison. Mel also does not serve as an antagonist to Gru and his family, and is in fact the first one to miss them.
- Gru and Dru's mother Marlena completely disappears from the film after providing exposition about how the twins were separated. She never interacts with the estranged son she never knew, and any possible resentment either brother feels towards her or their father for their actions is never brought up. Due to Robert's passing being the catalyst for Dru and Gru meeting, there is no further exploration into her relationship with her ex-husband or why she and Robert divorced in the first place.
- Valerie Da Vinci, the new head of the AVL only appears in the one scene where she fires Gru (not counting Gru's Imagine Spot of presenting the Dupont Diamond to her and getting rehired). It's a real shame Da Vinci's personality wasn't fleshed out as much as Ramsbottom's was in the second film.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
- Marlena not going with the family to meet her long-lost son Dru is never pointed out or expanded upon.
- The ending has both Gru (with Lucy) and Dru on opposite sides of the law. Would've been interesting if we got to see more of it instead of a 2D animation closing credits.
- The Woobie: Niko, the cheese boy, ultimately just wanted social acceptance though it unfortunately causes him to attempt to push a marriage proposal onto Margo, which Lucy has to stop in order to make up for Lucy's earlier "tough love" mistake.
YMMV / Despicable Me 3