Even though it’s based on a popular series of children’s books, if you’ve seen Disney’s Zootopia (2016), you’ve seen the better version of The Bad Guys. As far as entertainment for children, it’s nothing to avoid and it’s likely young audiences will latch onto the fun characters and well-cast voices. It’s a brisk and silly affair with enjoyable animation and a fun score by Daniel Pemberton (Into the Spiderverse).
We have a group of “scary animals” in a world where anthropomorphized creatures carry out the usual day-to-day jobs. The spooky creatures get a bad rap because they’re fear, so the characters lean into social prejudices and become a notorious criminal gang.
Having an all-animal heist crew provides some creative entertainment and Ocean’s 11 style moments of frivolous fun; particularly the giant shark is the team’s “master” of disguise. The character arcs, supposed betrayals, redemption, and plot should be familiar and predictable, which means much of the movie must coast on the appeal of the animation, voice actors, and general sense of humor.
The Bad Guys is suitable fun for animation aficionados, fans of the book series, and people who have never seen Zootopia, and if that’s you, enjoy.
Letter Grade: B-