The Bad Guys Review: When Bad Goes Good

DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys

Villains have seen some love as of late in film and TV including Despicable Me, Loki, Joker, Harley Quinn, and The Suicide Squad. Audiences love watching villains, and it’s not surprising since they seem to have more fun than the heroes. Their side of the story is intriguing as they believe they’re the heroes in their own journey. DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys joins the list of villainous films with criminals like Wolf, Piranha, Snake, Webs and Shark as they try to turn over a new leaf. It’s a fun heist about friendship and trying to become a better animal.

The film is set in Los Angeles where anthropomorphic animals and humans live together. Wolf is the leader of The Bad Guys, a criminal squad that includes Piranha, Snake, Webs, and Shark. They’ve robbed many places, but on their biggest score yet, Wolf accidentally saves an old lady from falling down the stairs. The bad news? He starts to feel good about it. This causes a rift between the members of The Bad Guys.

(from left) Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Piranha (Anthony Ramos), Snake (Marc Maron), Tarantula (Awkwafina) and Shark (Craig Robinson) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Each of the animals is unique in looks and personality. Voiced by Sam Rockwell, Wolf has the style and is a smooth-talker. Snake is voiced by Marc Maron and is selfish and sarcastic. Anthony Ramos is the voice of Piranha who is easily agitated and hyper. Craig Robinson is the voice of Shark and is a lovable giant. Awkwafina is Webs, a tarantula and an elite hacker. The voice actors all do a wonderful job as their respective characters, but Anthony Ramos and the animation team really stepped it up and brought life to the party as Piranha entertains throughout the film including fart jokes.

The city of Los Angeles is another character in the film. The streets and some buildings are recognizable. There’s a clear shot of downtown Los Angeles as it gets hit by a meteorite. Los Angelenos and those familiar with the city will get a kick out of seeing some familiar locations.

Piranha (Anthony Ramos) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

One of the highlights of the film is the music sequence with Anthony Ramos as Piranha singing “Good Tonight” at the gala. The animation team looked like they had fun animating and creating the sequence, and we felt the good energy from the scene.

If there’s one nitpick with the film, it’s that I wished the film had more of an emotional impact on some of the character arcs. There were sad scenes, but it would have been better if it was amplified even more to really feel the scene. It’s like a dramatic moment that was resolved before things would get on pins and needles. As a result, it felt like it only scratched the surface of what’s possible for the characters.

Final Reaction

The Bad Guys is an enjoyable, feel-good animated film with lovable characters. It’s a gratifying redemption story of reputation and friendship. The voice actors are all a joy to experience, with Anthony Ramos really turning it up as the voice of Piranha. It could still benefit from having an even more emotional arc or tense sequences.

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

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