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The Bad Guys (2022)

Crime comedies. Not something you would typically see among other family films. But when Despicable Me and Megamind hit theaters over 10 years ago, the animation industry was shaken up a bit. How and why? Villains changed. Literally and figuratively. We not only loved to hate them but also enjoyed sympathizing with them. Even at their best, they were still at their most delightfully worst. 

And maybe that’s the best way to describe DreamWorks’ newest descent into troublemakers’ paradise. Even at its best, the film is enjoyably bad in the best possible way. So join this lover of villains, and let’s take a closer look at the pop color insanity rush simply called The Bad Guys


Like I said before, the idea of a reformed villain is not necessarily new. One of the most famous (and most timeless examples) is Ebenezer Scrooge, whose story has become something of a modern myth and fable to this day. Megamind (as mentioned before), Gru, Stitch, Shrek, and countless other baddies have shown they truly are more than they appear to be. Even Darth Vader gets a tear-jerking redemption arc (albeit a short one). 

So we’ve all seen the villain-reformed story countless times. What makes the story in The Bad Guys so special? In short, nothing. But just because something has been recycled as much as paper towels doesn’t make it bad – no pun intended. As long as it brings a new twist, and The Bad Guys succeeds in doing this. To an extent. 

This films throws multiple plot twists out of absolutely nowhere, and I respect it for that. What appears to be mindless comedy actually has some funny and gripping layers. Part One starts out as your run of the mill, boring, uninteresting kids’ film, before Part 2 escalates into a mental atom bomb that is pure joy. I haven’t had this much fun with an action scene/climax since the last episode of The Book of Boba Fett

Yes. Really. 


On that note, let’s talk about the animation, with is DEFINITELY worth discussing. 

Whoever designed this film wanted to give us the feel of 2D animation overlapping 3D animation. Imagine the offspring of Zootopia and Into the Spider-Verse, and you’ve got a general idea. While the characters themselves are simplistic models, special effects like explosions, dust, smoke, and steam were carefully tailored to look hand-drawn. The use of bold black lines is also a clever way of enhancing characters’ expressions. Like a comic book brought to life – again I refer you to Spider-Verse. 

While I am very happy to see 2D animation come back, this form of 3D is very welcoming, and I hope more filmmakers utilize it. Simple and sweet. 


The Big Bad Wolf has become so common in children’s media (even today), that some people might sigh and roll their eyes when he appears in a movie. You could argue this film’s self-awareness of this idea could be another recycled bit, but this version of Mr. Wolf is especially fun. Sam Rockwell knocks it out of the park, but I think (if this film was made in the 90s) James Woods could’ve easily donned this fur suit. Watch the film and tell me I’m wrong. 

His animal sidekicks – yes I had to make that joke – are also fun. We have a King Shark knock off voiced by Craig Robinson, a self-proclaimed master of disguise…and yes the insanity of that line alone should have you chuckling. Awkwafina lends her adorable rasp to fuzzy orange spider named Miss Tarantula, hacker extraordinaire. Grumpy pants thief Mr. Snake is voiced by Marc Maron, in a perfect blend of Anger from Inside Out and Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – he’s literally dressed like Johnny Depp from the film. And we finally have the adorkable ticking time bomb Mr. Piranha, voiced by singer Anthony Ramos of Hamilton fame. 

Other characters include the smooth-talking and beautiful Mayor Diane Foxington (voiced by Deadpool’s Zazie Beetz), the deceptively cute Professor Marmalade (voiced by Richard Ayoade), and Police Chief Misty Luggins (voiced by Alex Borstein). These three definitely earn their street cred as entertaining side characters. 

And that’s all I’ll say without going into spoilers. Again, the reveals in this film are surprisingly good for a family film!    


The Bad Guys delivers a familiar story with some fun new elements. Add to that some brilliant action and twisted humor, and you have a fun, crude, exciting little story. Not the greatest of movies in recent years, but a welcoming addition to the 21st century moviegoers’ lists. I applaud it for taking risks and for giving us some clever action, witty dialogue, and gorgeous artwork. And let’s not mention some truly amazing plot twists for a kids’ movie! 



IN A NUTSHELL:   The Bad Guys offers a barrel of laughs within an avant garde comic book style universe. Add to that some original characters, fantastic plot twists, and some legitimately awesome action, and you have one fun movie for little kids and big kids at heart.