It has been so long since I have reviewed anything! In fact, I just checked and my last review was in November 2020. So this might be one heck of a rusty review, please forgive me in advance. My eldest daughter, April, is finally old enough to come along to family movies with me and give her perspective on them… hence me choosing The Bad Guys as my first review in well over a year! Let’s jump right in.
The Bad Guys follows a group of your classic fairytale and real-world villains of the animal kingdom as find themselves in circumstances where pretending to ‘go good’ is the only chance they have at pulling off the ultimate heist. But when the fuzzy feeling that comes with doing good deeds starts to change them, will they turn their back on their pasts or stick with what they’ve always known? AND is there something even more sinister than the bad guys at play?
It begins with a casual bank robbery followed by an epic police car chase which is used to introduce the main cast. First up we have Wolf, masterfully voiced by Sam Rockwell. The smooth criminal of the crew, Wolf is the mastermind behind their crimes and the charmer whenever he gets the chance. Marc Maron gives a solid performance as Snake, the birthday hating, push-pop hogging, pessimist of the crew. He probably has one of the best character arcs and sob-stories of all the characters. April and her almost-5-year-old friend, Teddy, were both most excited to see Shark (Craig Robinson) after his trailer-stealing “I’M HAVING A BABY” scene, and although the loveable character did deliver up some laughs, I think both kids were less impressed than they thought they’d be. Awkwafina did the best she could with, Tarantula, one of the least interesting characters in the film and Anthony Ramos had a similar struggle with the butt of all jokes, Piranha, whose main personality trait is farting.
I’m not saying that the main Protagonists have to be the strongest characters, but the main crew were blown out of the water as soon as Professor Marmalade stepped onto the screen. Finally, the role Richard Ayoade was brought into existence to play, has come to fruition. Why he has wasted years being anything other than a Guinea Pig, I will never understand. Since I’m keeping this review spoiler free, I won’t offer up any further details on him or April’s number one favourite character, as 99% of their character arcs are reliant on major spoilers. After leaving the cinema I asked April if the Shark did, in fact, turn out to be her favourite character. But no, Shark never stood a chance against Diane Foxington who is brought to life by Zazie Beets.
With a title like The Bad Guys, I was a bit worried that it might be a bit much for a 5 year old and an almost 5 year old. But as with most things, it really comes down to what sort of content each kid is sensitive to. April was most upset about some of the emotional parts of the movies, themes of being left out and losing friendships were what she came away fretting over. Whereas Teddy didn’t seem to mind those bits at all, and was mostly covering his eyes during the loud car and police chases as well as the tense heist moments. I know that only a few months ago the plot points involving mind control and animals with glowing eyes would have kept her up at night, so check out Common Sense Media if you’re after some guidance around the suitability of The Bad Guys for your child.
Overall I think The Bad Guys is a solid family film leaning in more to humour appealing to the kids, than putting in much (or any) effort into the sly adult humour we all know and love. It’s probably not a film your family will feel like watching again, and I don’t see kids even wanting merch from this one, but it will make for an entertaining and thrilling afternoon at the movies.