The second time is even sweeter:

by Mark Burger

Despicable Me 2 is an animated delight

In a summer absolutely loaded with sequels, reboots and rehashes, is a refreshing rarity: a sequel that’s faster, funnier and better than the first film, which grossed a whopping $250 million in the US alone. The sequel is poised to do even more, and deservedly so.

Again directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, the story picks up with Gru (again voiced by Steve Carell) a completely reformed supervillain.

Having settled into fatherhood with his three adopted daughters (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Fisher and Dana Gaier), Gru is apt to be wielding a spatula at an outdoor barbecue or mak ing jams and jellies rather than making mischief.

Villainy, however, tends to rear its ugly head at the inopportune moments, prompting the Anti-Villain League to recruit Gru when there’s a new threat to the world’s safety. Who better to ferret out a supervillain than a former supervillain?

Storywise, that’s about all there is to , and that’s really all it needs. Having established Gru’s relationship to his girls, there’s less of a cutesy nature to their interaction this time around — although it’s hardly less appealing. There’s also more of Gru’s delightful minions, who are so adept at stealing the show that many of their best bits have already been shown in the film’s pre-release trailers. (They’re also so adept at the stealing the show that they’ll be getting their own animated feature before too long.)

The entire voiceover cast is in fine form, with some holdovers from the first film in different roles here, including the delightful Kristen Wiig as a perennially chipper Anti-Villain League operative with eyes for Gru. Also heard are Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong and Benjamin Bratt, who stepped in when previously cast (and promoted in trailers) Al Pacino departed over “creative differences”(!). One can only wonder what those differences were, because the end result turned out just fine — and quite funny.