Today is a double review of both Monsters University and Despicable Me 2!
These reviews don't contain any spoilers! :) Yay me!
Despicable Me 2 was MUCH better than I expected it to be. Despicable Me was amazing and wonderful...but it was also a surprise box office hit. They ended it so well that I did not think there would be a sequel. When I first heard DM2 was coming out, I was kinda scared because I was afraid they were just trying to do a repeat of the first one to get a repeat of the box office money.
Well, DM2 is currently getting that repeat of the box office money, but it absolutely deserves it. There is just as much sweetness and heart as the first one, and just as much laughter and excitement. The writers of DM and DM2 are excellent at creating moments where you are not sure if you want to smile or cry.
The themes are just as deep as they were for the first one. The film touches on the importance of having both a mom and a dad, the pros and cons to dating, and growing up.
All the violence is slapstick and nobody, not even the villain, gets seriously hurt. A steroid-like serum is injected into different beings, but it is shown in a very negative light. There is some mild toilet humor, but I don't think it is any worse than the first film.
Monsters University. Oh. My. Goodness. Where do I start here?
You should see Monsters Inc. before you see Monsters University, even though MU is a prequel. In my opinion, it adds so much more to MU to see the characters "grown up" in MI first. And watching MU also seems to broaden the scope of the world of MI, and adds a LOT of depth to the various characters.
Anyway, Monsters University is very sweet, sad, heartfelt, and funny all at the same time. Though Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University are marketed to the same age range, I think Monsters University might be a bit too complicated for younger (like, 3 year olds) to grasp. It also focuses less on "defeating the bad guy" than on "discovering who I am." So I guess I'm saying it is more of a character movie than plot movie...so younger kids might be more likely to get bored.
Despite all that, MU is very appropriate content wise for younger kids. Unless the kid is scared of the monsters "scaring" people. Then you probably shouldn't see it. (Yet another reason to watch MI first...the scaring issue is resolved whereas in MU, none of the monsters see anything at all wrong with it. Which is absolutely fine for where characters are, but it would probably be better to see them stop scaring before they start scaring.)
The little violence that exists is very light. (Running from a squid/slug-like librarian, escaping a burning door, a few punches...etc.) There is no toilet humor that I can remember. There is a "scaring major" monster who flunked out who now pursues "New Age Philosophy." (The movie proceeds to make fun of him a lot, like having him just randomly stare at butterflies dreamily or cooing over ladybugs. Little kids probably wouldn't get it, but just so y'all know...)
All in all, both movies were fantastic! If you can only pick one to see in theaters however, I would go with Monsters University because the animation and colors were SPECTACULAR. If you're seeing a 3D version, I'd go with Despicable Me 2 though. They had a lot more scenes that would have been cool in 3D than MU.