Was “The Bad Guys” Good?

Athena ScalziThere were a lot of good things about The Bad Guys, and I enjoyed watching it, so what is it about this movie that made it mediocre?

When I saw the trailer for The Bad Guys, I was thrilled that a movie with such a unique look was coming to theaters. Ever since 3-D animated movies became the industry standard, and hand drawn animation went out the window, so few movies have broken the mold. A couple that come to mind are Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Klaus, and Kubo and the Two Strings. Of course, I’m only focusing specifically on animated movies (largely aimed at children) of the past decade. And yes, The Bad Guys is still CG animation. But the look of it is so different from movies like Frozen, and it’s refreshing.

The animation wasn’t the only thing that made me want to go and see it. Based on the trailer, I could tell it was going to be charmingly goofy, or at least goofily charming. And I was right! The Bad Guys has the perfect blend of silly heist tactics, over-the-top expressions, and perfect punchlines. It was funny enough to make me laugh out loud at least a couple times, anyway.

Each character was likeable in their own ways, and their relationships with each other seemed genuine. Their dynamics were fun, but also heart-warming, and each character felt three dimensional. And you can’t go wrong when Awkwafina, Richard Ayoade, Craig Robinson, and Sam Rockwell star alongside each other.

With all these positive qualities, why did it still fall short for me? Don’t get me wrong, I did think it was a good movie. But I was expecting to love this movie, and it ended up just being fairly average.

I found that the issue for me lies in the plot. I’m going to go into detail about the plot, so from this point on you get a spoiler warning. Ready?


Okay, now that we got that out of the way, The Bad Guys is about a group of criminals that pretend to turn good as part of a scheme, but end up actually wanting to become good, and become the unlikely heroes by the end. All of the criminals are predator animals, and are viewed by society as scary and dangerous. Assuming that they’ll be feared even if they are good, they decide to fit the mold of their stereotypes and just be bad, since that’s all society sees them as anyways.

Then, a prey animal takes it upon himself to teach them to be good, like him. He ends up being the villain and framing the predators for his crimes, driving people to once again fear them.

In the end, the prey animal gets thwarted and thrown in jail, subverting all expectations of the cute and cuddly prey animal that society previously held.

Does that sound familiar to anyone?

A prey mastermind coming up with a devious plan to use the majority’s fear against predators? Framing predators for crimes the prey commits? The big twist of the movie being that the prey animal was behind everything, and then gets thrown in jail after being defeated by the predators?

Knock knock. Who’s there? It’s Zootopia.

The Bad Guys was wildly predictable, mostly because it was following the exact same path as Zootopia almost from the get-go. It seemed to hit all the same points as Zootopia, but in a worse way.

While we’re comparing it to Zootopia, let’s talk about the human side of things. Why are there humans in The Bad Guys universe? More importantly, why are the only animals we see in the entire film the main characters and the villain?

Actually, let me correct that, why are the main characters the only anthropomorphized animals? The villain is literally an anthropomorphized guinea pig that uses non-anthropomorphized guinea pigs as a weapon, and there’s also a regular cat stuck in a tree. AND Shark and Piranha can just live on land with no accommodations, while the Zootopia world is clearly structured to accommodate all different types of animals.

It’s just all very odd to me. It seems rather half baked.

Overall, I liked it and I’d watch it again, but it’s less than I had hoped for.

Have you seen The Bad Guys? Did you like it? Do you feel that it copied Zootopia in some aspects? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and have a great day!


4 Comments on “Was “The Bad Guys” Good?”

  1. Haven’t seen the movie, but my now 10-year old loved the books when he was a bit younger. They are fun but more about atmosphere and action than stuff that makes sense.

    In general it’s hard to get anthropomorphic worlds to make complete sense. Zootopia is of course full of plot holes a mile wild (for instance, what, exactly do the predators eat in that world?)

    Oddly one that does actually manage to stay reasonably consistent is Peppa Pig, where all the animals are vegetarian (so no questions about who that bacon is), and they explicitly make only the mammals sentient so they can get away with eating eggs. On the other hand, it’s also obviously a post-apocalyptic universe where animals are genetically modified by the house of Windsor and used to destroy the human race (The Queen is in fact the only human we ever meet).

  2. There are currently 14 and counting comic books, and they take a very different tack IIRC. My 8yr old daughter loves them.

    They are adorable, but I think very different. Much less similar to zootopia.

  3. My 7 year old loves reading the books, they’re very accessible for kids getting into chapter books or graphic novels. But the plot goes off the rails with big changes for that “prey” character. We made the movie a family outing and while I didn’t find it as analogous to zootopia as you clearly did, it’s basically a candy bar of a heist movie. As an over 40 female though, it’s a LONG time since I went to a movie and thought, oh, THIS is for ME. I am not the target audience. And I’m not for Bad Guys either.

  4. How can you leave out the Mayor! And Wolf going full Clooney on that fox? But yeah, thought it strange that all the other characters were human.

%d bloggers like this: