“The Bad Guys” boasts a unique comic book aesthetic that combines both a blend of 3D and 2D animation that takes inspiration from Sony Pictures Animation’s “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” film. The movie drives quickly along passing beats, which some viewers may be familiar with.
“The Bad Guys” is the first feature length animated film to be released in theaters this year by animation studio Dreamworks. It is based on the New York Times best selling series of illustrated graphic novels also titled “The Bad Guys” authored by Aaron Blabey.
“The Bad Guys” starts off strong with introducing us to the protagonist of the film, Mr. Wolf, who talks directly to the audience conveying his charm through subtle animated movements.
It also follows his gang of misfits, known as the “bad guys,” which include Ms. Tarantula, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Piranha, who rob banks and taunt the local police with their antics.
The gang embraces their stereotypes of being the bad guys due to them being animals that humans are scared of, which makes them outcasts to society.
It is not until a certain point into the movie where Mr. Wolf wonders if there is more to life than just being his bad self. He and his gang are aided by Professor Rupert Marmalade, a little humanoid guinea pig, who is a humanitarian and promises to make the bad guys into good guys.
Diane Foxington also helps nurture this change and despite being seen as a deceiving fox, is a successful figure who is the governor of the city.
Mr. Wolf and her are seen as opposites, Mr. Wolf being an individual who embraces the stereotypes while Foxington has done everything in her power to become something more than them.
While Foxington is a positive force for Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake constantly pulls Mr. Wolf back and tries to convince him to embrace the ‘bad guy’ culture that has been placed on him.
Mr. Snake is someone who is afraid of change and is comfortable living with these stereotypes which causes him to conflict with Mr. Wolf throughout the film.
While the themes of the film are interesting, a lot of it is drowned out by action scenes and the occasional kid movie jokes and tropes we come to expect.
The beautiful animation style is not enough to hide the very weak plot of the film and the obvious twists that I’m sure most children can see coming from a mile away. Besides Mr. Wolf, Foxington, and Mr. Snake, the rest of the gang is pretty forgettable and are shallow characters who have one personality trait. For example, Mr. Shark is the big goofy character, Ms. Tarantula is the smart one, and Mr. Piranha is the wild card of the group.
For a movie that is going against stereotypes, most of these characters are one note movie stereotypes we have seen in many other films.
Not to mention other films such as the Disney animated film “Zootopia” handled very similar themes while also feeling unique and different by creating this brand new world where animals co-exist together, but have some underlying issues under this utopia.
In comparison, “The Bad Guys” takes place in a random city that does not boast as much personality as Zootopia City. This leaves “The Bad Guys” to feel hollow and empty in its setting as well as its story line due to the lack of any worldbuilding and the one note characters.
“The Bad Guys” message is also somewhat murky, especially with a certain scene that encourages taking responsibility for actions but another character expresses the exact opposite of this idea. The film tells the viewer both ideas are right, which can be confusing for both adults and children.
Despite all this, “The Bad Guys” is still an enjoyable fun ride with messages that resonate with both children and adults, but prepare for some speed bumps along the way.
Joseph Chavez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.