In this image released by Universal Pictures, Scarlet Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock, second left, appears with minions Stuart, left, Kevin and Bob, right, in a scene from the animated feature, Minions.

In this image released by Universal Pictures, Scarlet Overkill, voiced by Sandra Bullock, second left, appears with minions Stuart, left, Kevin and Bob, right, in a scene from the animated feature, Minions.

Illumination Entertainment/AP

Though the story of the supervillain Gru and his adopted daughters is the touching heart of the Despicable Me franchise, the Minions have easily been the most popular characters of the series. This week, the Minions return to theaters in their own spinoff film.

This begged the question: What are the best spinoff movies? We came up with five favorites.

Get Him to the Greek

A spinoff to the popular comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek follows some of that film's supporting character Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) in an attempt to transport the British rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) to a concert in L.A. The film was successful in its replication of the best comedic elements of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, as well as taking the supporting characters of Green and Snow and making them leads. It's also a testament to the comic abilities of Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, and director Nicholas Stoller's sense of physical comedy.

Aaron (Jonah Hill, left) and Aldous (Russell Brand) run from Aaron's boss, Sergio (Sean Combs, background) in "Get Him to the Greek," the story of a record company executive with three days to drag an uncooperative rock legend to Hollywood for a comeback concert.

Aaron (Jonah Hill, left) and Aldous (Russell Brand) run from Aaron's boss, Sergio (Sean Combs, background) in "Get Him to the Greek," the story of a record company executive with three days to drag an uncooperative rock legend to Hollywood for a comeback concert.

HANDOUT/MCT

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Star Wars is perhaps the most critically successful adventure series of all-time, and following the critical failure (but financial success) of the prequel trilogy, Lucasfilm moved forward with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a theatrical film that took place between Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. The Clone Wars continued the adventures of classic Star Wars characters like Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well as introducing new characters like the Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano and Clone Captain Rex. Most importantly. Star Wars: The Clone Wars deepened the lore of the Star Wars canon, and further developed the tragedy of Darth Vader that would be seen in the original trilogy.

Diminutive but mighty Jedi master Yoda considers a difficult proposition in a scene from "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

Diminutive but mighty Jedi master Yoda considers a difficult proposition in a scene from "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

Handout/MCT

The Bourne Legacy

In a follow up to the hugely successful Bourne trilogy of films, Tony Gilroy's The Bourne Legacy followed the adventures of the new secret agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) in the same world. Cleverly intertwined with the events of the Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Legacy used a similar formula to what had been seen previously, but did so with an all-new cast of characters, including a strong leading performance by Jeremy Renner. The combination of action, intrigue, and drama makes The Bourne Legacy a welcome compliment to the greater Bourne saga, and an interesting departure for the series.

This publicity film image released by Universal Pictures shows Jeremy Renner, as Aaron Cross, in a scene from "The Bourne Legacy."

This publicity film image released by Universal Pictures shows Jeremy Renner, as Aaron Cross, in a scene from "The Bourne Legacy."

Mary Cybulski/AP

Puss in Boots

The Shrek series is easily one of the most influential animated series out there, and one of the series' most popular characters is Puss in Boots. The character received his own spinoff film in 2011, which detailed the character's past prior to the events of Shrek. While Puss in Boots maintained many of the qualities of Shrek, namely the clever humor and strong character arcs, it had its own identity as a film, trekking into the swashbuckling adventure genre and drawing from both samurai and western films. Antonio Banderas provides a charismatic vocal performance as the titular character, and the film gives insight into the character's role in the overall franchise.

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas, is shown in a scene from "Puss in Boots."

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas, is shown in a scene from "Puss in Boots."

AP

The Wolverine

The X-Men franchise is a staple of the superhero genre, much of which is due to the popularity of Hugh Jackman's character of Wolverine. While 2009's ill-fated X-Men Origins: Wolverine failed to capture the essence of the character, the 2013 spinoff The Wolverine took the character back to his roots in Japan, where he's been tasked with protecting the daughter of a wealthy benefactor offering him immortality. The moral drama of living forever is well explored, and the character's history is cleverly told without giving a way the mystery of Wolverine. The film is also powered by gritty action sequences, as well as another excellent performance by Hugh Jackman as the titular character. The Wolverine is a welcome addition to the X-Men franchise, and gives great development to its most popular character.

This publicity image released by 20th Century Fox shows Hugh Jackman in a scene from "The Wolverine."

This publicity image released by 20th Century Fox shows Hugh Jackman in a scene from "The Wolverine."

Ben Rothstein/AP
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