THE BAD GUYS Review - Why You Can't Afford To Miss Dreamwork's Hilarious New Heist Movie

The Bad Guys is Dreamworks Animation's latest release, and trust us when we say this comic book-inspired caper isn't a movie you should consider missing when it arrives in theaters later this month...

Reviews Opinion

Based on the children's book series of the same name by Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys is DreamWorks’ latest addition to its animated slate and another movie that could have major franchise potential for the studio behind the likes of Shrek and Trolls. While this heist movie might have escaped your attention ahead of what looks set to be a busy April for filmgoers (it arrives in U.S. theaters on April 22), you’d be foolish to overlook this massively entertaining adventure that’s a delight for kids and adults alike. 

The Bad Guys focuses on a group of criminals known as Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Ms. Tarantula, and after a heist gone wrong lands them behind bars, they're forced to go good in an effort to escape prison time…and pull off an even bigger score, of course. Along the way, a terrifying new threat emerges that might just make the hilarious and likeable group of ragtag crooks realise that being good really isn’t that bad. This is a very funny movie, and while Etan Cohen and Hilary Winston’s script isn’t quite as witty or clever as the stories we often see from Pixar and Disney Animation in terms of humour (there’s an entire subplot devoted to farts), rest assured that this isn’t one of those kid’s movies that you’ll have to wince through while your children are wiping away tears of laughter. There’s a fair bit of heart to the story too, with the friendship between these characters an undeniable highlight, especially when they eventually find themselves at odds. Some familiar beats are hit along the way, but this adventure still feels wholly original. 

However, where The Bad Guys really shines is with its heists. Both satisfying and surprising in equal measure, they’re surprisingly clever, and the movie delivers twists and turns moviegoers of all ages won’t necessarily see coming. That’s not easy, and it’s refreshing to see the story play out in a way that avoids the genre’s trappings and keeps you guessing right up until the credits (make sure to stick around through those for a fun epilogue). 

These days, animated movies all too often look the same. Certain studios have very specific styles, and while we’ve seen Pixar try to shake things up - with mixed results - many of these movies have become all too interchangeable. That’s not the case with The Bad Guys, though, as we get some superb comic book-inspired visuals that make the characters and action and screen come to life in a way that ensures this feels like a very special movie. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse appears to have been an inspiration, while Zootopia (and, more coincidentally, we’re guessing) Turning Red also come to mind in terms of how downright amazing The Bad Guys looks. Director Pierre Perifel puts himself on the map with this inspired take on this story, and there are plenty of moments for animation aficionados to appreciate and salivate over.

Similarly impressive is The Bad Guys’ voice cast; Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Anthony Ramos, Craig Robinson, Awkwafina, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, Lilly Singh, and Alex Borstein lead the charge here, and there’s not a bad performance to be found. We’d have liked to hear a little more of the respective actors’ personalities shine through, particularly in the cases of Maron, Ramos, and Robinson. However, Rockwell’s Mr. Wolf oozes the actor’s trademark swagger, while Beetz and Awkwafina are also on top form throughout. This might just be 2022’s most impressive ensemble, and Dreamworks spared no expense in assembling an insanely talented group of actors for a movie that can only be described as one of the year’s biggest surprises.

A cross between Into the Spider-Verse, Zootopia, and Ocean's Eleven, The Bad Guys puts a fun animated spin on the heist genre and delivers some stellar comic book-inspired visuals mixed with hilarious gags for viewers of all ages.


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