After a lifetime of legendary heists, notorious criminals Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula are finally caught. To avoid a prison sentence, the animal outlaws must pull off their most challenging con yet — becoming model citizens. Under the tutelage of their mentor, Professor Marmalade, the dubious gang sets out to fool the world that they’re turning good.
Editing: John Venzon
Music: Daniel Pemberton
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Anthony Ramos, Craig Robinson, Awkwafina, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, Lilly Singh, Alex Borstein
Director: Pierre Perifel
Screenplay: Etan Cohen, Hilary Winston
Based on: The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
DreamWorks Animation has had a tremendous amount of success adapting children’s books to the big screen. From their most well known films like Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon to newer films like The Boss Baby and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, Dreamworks have been able to please fans and build franchises for the big screen or TV. With their new film based on the best selling children’s graphic novels written by Australian author Aaron Blabey, Dreamworks are hoping to repeat that success and I can’t help but hope too.
The Bad Guys are a crew of criminals in a world where humans and anthropomorphic animals co-exist. Mr Wolf (Sam Rockwell) is the leader and a pickpocket, Mr. Snake (Marc Maron) is the cynical second in command and a talented safecracker, Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) is the short tempered muscle of the group, Ms Tarantula (Awkwafina) is the expert hacker and tech wiz and Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) is a true master of disguise. After being captured in their latest heist, Mr. Wolf talks their way into a chance for freedom: by getting reformed by the philanthropist guinea pig, Prof. Rupert Marmalade IV (Richard Ayoade). The Bad Guys soon find themselves trying to fight their bad impulse in an attempt to be good guys.
The Bad Guys is such a fun experience as Dreamworks makes a family-friendly entry in the heist genre in much the same way they did to the martial arts genre with Kung Fu Panda. There are multiple heists, car chases, double-crosses and flashbacks which all feel fitting to the genre and very entertaining. The plot is not overly complex and is missing some of the emotional weight that we have come to expect from the best films in this medium, but the movie moves along at a fantastic pace, never letting up, and tackles the question why we should try to be good.
Sam Rockwell is fantastic as Mr. Wolf, providing great charisma to the role while also showcasing the inner conflict of someone who wants to be good but also doesn’t want to go against their friends. Marc Maron is a perfect piece of casting as the negative Mr. Snake as is Richard Ayoade as Marmalade while Zazie Beetz proves a fantastic counterpart for Rockwell’s Mr Wolf as the governor Diane Foxington. The rest of the cast are good but have nowhere near the same amount of character development but are given moments to showcase their stuff. Mr. Shark in particular was quite funny with his absurd disguises proving very effective.