Animated movies like The Bad Guys are going to be the norm now, I’ve theorized. There’s a hip, wiseacre notion to the characters in this movie. The older animated movies made by Disney and Don Bluth still carried a childish quality to them. That’s not saying this is a movie for adults. But it’s geared toward kids who are brighter than Uncle Walt might have given them credit back in the day.
The movie begins with the two main characters, Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell) dressed in a nice suit with some shades chatting casually with Mr. Snake (voiced by Marc Maron), his sarcastic and cynical friend. Their banter in a diner with the L.A. haze in the background is obviously a reference to Quentin Tarantino and other slick gritty crime thrillers. As they get up and walk out the other patrons and staff cower as they act non-chalant on their way to a bank robbery. You may not have seen Pulp Fiction nor Reservoir Dogs but you know what director Pierre Perifel and writer Etan Cohen are going for.
Based on the graphic novel by Aaron Biabey, Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake are part of a gang of criminals who are all composed of animals we’re mostly afraid of. Mr. Shark (voiced by Craig Robinson) is a master of disguise and the joke is he’s obviously not fooling anyone with his disguises. Despite this, he’s very childish and gullible. Ms. Tarantula (voiced by Awkwafina) is the technical computer hacker of the gang. And Mr. Piranha (voiced by Anthony Ramos) is the wacky loose cannon of the bunch.
What’s funny is that many of these animals are not as threatening as we think they are in the wild. Even more so, each character seemes to be a cliched character in thrillers and heist movies such as this. You can’t help but think of the Ocean’s Eleven movies as they even comment that Mr. Wolf is going “full Clooney” on people. And Rockwell is the perfect choice for the cool swagger that Mr. Wolf is, just as the rest of the cast is perfect. And Maron is well cast as Mr. Snake. But they’re the only well thought out characters of the gang.
When they are framed for a robbery and arrested, Professor Rupert Marmalade IV (voiced by Richard Ayoade), a guniea pig who is a pompous philanthropist take it upon himself to show they can be made good. He convinces the police chief Misty Luggins (voiced by Alex Borstein) and Gov. Diane Foxington (voiced by Zazie Beetz) to allow him to take this on rather than sending them to jail.
Of course, if you’ve seen this type of movie before you know Marmalade is up to something. And you know there’s more about Gov. Foxington that will be revealed in the third act. I like The Bad Guys but I wished it could have been a little bit shorter and they had made Mr. Shark, Mr. Piranha and Ms. Tarantula more detailed as Mr. Wold and Mr. Snake. I’m almost certain they’ll be a sequel. It made a lot of money and got some good reviews. Maybe they will focus on the other character some more.
What do you think? Please comment.