Despicable Me 2, the sequel to the first 2010 film, is due to be released in cinemas on Wednesday. Early critical reviews have been largely positive. Keith Uhlich of the New York Times said the franchise has improved since the last film and that it is "delights more often than it disappoints".

Steve Carell
Steve Carell at the Despicable Me 2 premiere, L.A. 

Whilst most of the critics have enjoyed the film there are others who criticised Universal Pictures for its lack of originality. Ryan Gilbey of The Statesman said the film is "a completely redundant follow-up to the perfectly delightful 2010 original". Others have drawn comparisons with Monsters University, claiming Despicable Me 2 "has more laughs in the first 5 minutes" than Monsters managed in 90 (according to Roger Moore of McClatchy-Tribune News Service). 

Financial Times critic, Nigel Andrews rounds up most adults' feelings towards the film rather eloquently: "Despicable Me 2 is like the second helping of over-rich cake pressed on you at a children's birthday party, when you didn't want the first. Kids (of all ages) may love it, though ..." It's difficult to criticise something which is essentially harmless, children (and adults) certainly enjoyed the first one, which grossed $251 million. 

Watch the trailer for Despicable Me 2:

Steve Carrell (The Office US), Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly), Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality), Kristen Wiig (Arrested Development), Russell Brand (Arthur) and Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa) are just some of the actors whose voices are featured in Despicable Me 2

The animation was released in UK cinemas on Friday and has gone straight to the top of the Weekend Box Office. So far it has taken $22.6 million (£14.9 million). 

Despicable Me 2 will be released in US cinemas on 3rd July - tomorrow!

Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig at the Despicable Me 2 premiere, L.A.

Benjamin Bratt
Benjamin Bratt at the Despicable Me 2 premiere, L.A.