With a great voice cast, beautiful animation, a well-crafted story and heartfelt themes, The Bad Guys is a highly entertaining and thrilling watch.
It’s been a while since DreamWorks Animation made a truly enjoyable, memorable film. Directed by Pierre Perifel from a screenplay by Etan Cohen and based off the book by Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys is dynamic, exciting, and enjoyable all the way through, standing out as one of DreamWorks’ best animations in a long time. With a great voice cast, beautiful animation, a well-crafted story and heartfelt themes, The Bad Guys is a highly entertaining and thrilling watch.
The Bad Guys — Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Snake (Marc Maron), Piranha (Anthony Ramos), Tarantula (Awkwafina), and Shark (Craig Robinson) — are renowned thieves. They can’t enter a room without freaking everyone else out as they cower in fear. Their reputation precedes them and their heists, as well as their seamless getaways, frustrate and unnerve the city and, most especially, chief of police Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein). After being called out by the governor, Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz), The Bad Guys hatch a plan to steal the golden dolphin, a prestigious award given to the city’s good samaritan, so they can be considered the world’s greatest criminals. Things get complicated, however, when things go awry and they are handed over to Professor Rupert Marmalade (Richard Ayoade), who is convinced he can make The Bad Guys good.
On its surface, The Bad Guys seems like exactly the kind of movie one might expect. A group of thieves trying to execute a heist. But the film veers left when one thinks it will veer right, subverting expectations and uplifting the material from a one-dimensional story to a multi-layered, heartfelt one. The film’s themes are not only deep and interesting, but the animation is engaging, full of joy, and incredibly fun. The Bad Guys soars in its handling of Wolf’s character, whose morals seem muddy at best at the start. However, the film has him contending with what it means to help others and do good in a way that puts him at odds with his friends, who have grown accustomed to being perceived as the bad guys without a second glance or a chance to prove anyone wrong. This conflict makes for some good tension as the film drives toward an ending that is fast paced and exhilarating.
The film is a callback to some of Hollywood’s best heist movies like Ocean’s Eleven, and includes hints of Zootopia’s themes as well, though The Bad Guys takes these similarities and makes it all its own. To that end, the film explores stereotypes and perceptions without ever feeling like it’s hitting the audience over the head with its point. And while the animation does have a lot of heart, it never loses its sense of excitement. There are plenty of action sequences, funny jokes, twists, and physical comedy that will keep the audience watching. The Bad Guys’ animation style is also quite lovely, its aesthetic and character design a blend of soft, paint-like art that is smooth without being entirely two-dimensional. The animation also taking cues from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s comic book-like art style, foregoing on being completely a 3D project. It makes for a refreshing visual palette that remains grounded in its muted, earthy colors.
The characters are dynamic, each with their own distinct personalities, and their relationships with each other even more so. It’s easy to become invested in what will happen to The Bad Guys because of how much they care for each other and are genuine in their friendship. The voice cast does a tremendous job giving life to these characters, with Zazie Beetz’s take on Diane Foxington being a standout of the group, alongside Marc Maron’s grumpy, hot-headed Mr. Snake. There is plenty of humor, thrilling sequences, layered characters and a plot that is anything but dull. Ultimately, The Bad Guys is a good time at the movies, with a little bit of everything to satisfy moviegoers of all ages.
The Bad Guys released in theaters on Friday, April 22. The film is 100 minutes long and is rated PG for action and rude humor.
- The Bad Guys (2022)Release date: Apr 22, 2022
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