DreamWorks Animation is back at it, but this time, it’s the bad guys’ turn to take the wheel.
Loosely based on the graphic novels by Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys tells the story of the animals that always seem get a bad rap: Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron) Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) and Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos). Set in modern-day LA, these characters form a gang to wreak havoc on the city, from common bank robberies to jewelry heists. But things get shaken up when Mr. Wolf begins to wonder if there really is more to life than just being a bad guy all the time. The concept is simple but works incredibly well and is enjoyable from start to finish.
What really makesThe Bad Guys shine is the characters. Nearly all the characters are unique, fun, and intriguing. Mr. Wolf steals the show every time he’s on screen as he’s cool, suave, and confident (not to mention his impeccable wardrobe and drool-worthy muscle car). He’s so charming, that you are rooting for him along the way. Governor Foxington (Zazie Beetz) likewise captivates every time she’s on screen (with a comparable wardrobe of gala-perfect ballgowns) and serves as a female foil and love interest to Mr. Wolf.
The films starts off in the middle of an action scene, as the bad guys complete a bank robbery heist. This scene is fun and exciting, expertly introducing you to the characters, their world, their struggles, and what to expect going forward. The high points of the film are the various heists, giving major Ocean’s Eleven vibes, which makes sense because this film was an attempt to do to the heist genre what Shrek did for fairy tales. And it definitely succeeded.
The art style and animation is fresh and appealing. It pulls deeply from the source material’s graphic novel roots, and it really translates perfectly on screen. The animation and design of the characters feel different and push the envelope, rather than just keeping the same style that’s worked in previous DreamWorks films.
That being said, there are some interesting artistic gambles that, somehow, just work. For example, all of our main characters are anthropomorphic animals, while everyone else, such as the police, news reporters, and background characters, are humans. Taking it further, the police officers are even more stylized with bean mouths and almost feel like they belong in a different movie (or Cartoon Network show), yet together, they feel cohesive.
The Bad Guysis the perfect movie to kick off the summer. It’s exciting, action-packed, funny, and a wild-ride that moviegoers of all ages will enjoy.
Morgan is an Arizona native who's had a lifelong passion for animation. Her favorite animated films are Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, and The Iron Giant. She earned an MBA in Marketing from Arizona State University and now runs her own business where she coaches and trains entrepreneurs how to launch, grow & scale successful online businesses.