Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie - Poster #1

Ever since “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” was published back in 1997, children were charmed by Dav Pilkey’s comedic sensibilities. From the Flip-o-Rama to the character names, it became a sensation. It was only a matter of time until Hollywood brought the “tighty-whities” superhero to the big screen. But is Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie able to capture the playfulness of the books?

You bet your “tighty-whities” it does. Captain Underpants is a hilariously sweet film that also has a special message about friendships.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie follows George Beard and Harold Hutchins who are consistently tormented by the infamous Principal Krupp. They soon discover that their toy ring has the power to hypnotize Krupp into thinking that he’s their comic book creation, Captain Underpants. But when a real-life supervillain emerges, George and Harold must come up with a plan to stop Professor P while keeping their friendship intact.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie - Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, and Kevin Hart

Captain Underpants may look like it caters to kids but it’s definitely going to appeal to adults as well. As a matter of fact, adults will respond to the film in a way that they might not expect. Essentially, it’s a film about the childhood experience. We may not create comic books like George and Harold but the film perfectly captures what our childhoods felt like. Director David Soren employs several creative animated sequences to showcase the kids’ imagination. It easily hits that silly tone that made the books a sensation for 20 years.

Not to mention, Soren and his animators successfully achieve the CGI hand-drawn look that parallels the hand-drawn art from the books. Of course, making an entertaining film full of juvenile humor that isn’t mind-numbing is very challenging. Fortunately, Soren is able to pull it off. There are some pacing issues in the film’s final act and flat subplots that plague the film, though. Yet the film’s chief target audience won’t notice any of the storytelling flaws amidst all of the silliness.

It’s also not surprising that Captain Underpants is a riot as well. Nicholas Stoller is able to balance the juvenile potty humor with the deeper superhero parody elements. At the same time, the gags will come in as fast as a kid on Red Bull. It’s not that surprising considering that the film is only 89-minutes long but thankfully, the jokes hit way more than they miss.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie - Ed Helms

The real heart and soul of the film lie with the voice cast of the film, though. Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, and Nick Kroll dive deep into their characters with such enthusiasm. It amazing how much tangible comedic chemistry Hart and Middleditch have together. It truly feels as if those two were best friends since they were kids. Not to mention, the duo is so endearing too.

Ed Helms deserves praise for his performance too. Notably for his ability to play a stuck-up teacher one moment and seamlessly transition into a “tra-la-la” the next. It’s very reminiscent of James McAvoy’s performance in Split, just not as scary. Helms brings his comedic A-game here. Nick Kroll delivers a campy performance as Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants. Of course, when your name Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants and you have a Swiss accent, you accept the hammy performance.

Overall, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a ridiculous film that will delight kids and invoke nostalgia in adults. Whether you read the books or not, there’s so much to like about the film.  It’s one of those unique films that perfectly captures what it was like to have that one close childhood best friend. It’s also one of those films that will leave you smiling at the end.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1487 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.