The Bad Guys: 6 Reasons You Should Give The Animated Crime Comedy Movie A Shot

The Bad Guys in The Bad Guys
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Ever since I watched The Bad Guys once it came out earlier this year, I have been preaching and preaching about why the animated crime comedy is a 2022 movie you shouldn’t miss, even if you don’t have kids. In fact, I actually enjoyed it much more than two of my three kids. And now it seems like I’m not alone, considering the movie has been a permanent fixture on the Netflix Top 10 ever since being added to the service in November 2022. 

Still, some might not be convinced that a Dreamworks animated film about a group of anthropomorphic animals trying to go good after leaving a life of crime is all that it’s cracked up to be. Well, I’m here to prove those folks wrong and break down a few reasons why The Bad Guys is a movie that you should give a shot, especially if you’re a fan of crime capers with all sorts of plot twists.

The Bad Guys cast

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Animation Style Is Something That Can’t Be Missed

Remember Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? What am I talking about? It’s hard not to remember the Academy Award-winning and fan-favorite superhero movie that looked and felt like like you were reading a story out of Marvel Comics at your local comic shop. The blending of 2D and CGI animation styles created a fresh, unique, and incredibly fun visual style for the movie, and the same can be said about The Bad Guys. And this direction definitely helped the movie stand out amongst other animated titles in 2022, which is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

When speaking with IndieWire about the movie and the way animators added a hand-drawn look to the characters and onscreen action, VFX supervisor Matt Baer explained that they had a design philosophy to use “simplification to achieve our desired look.” This included removing “all superfluous details from each frame,” which created a startling visual effect. The same can be said about the manner in which the team embraced what is called reductionism, which included removing “details in the character timing and effects animation,” to make it look less like a traditionally-animated film.

Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake talking in bed in The Bad Guys

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Dialogue Is So Much Better Than It Needs To Be

Enough gushing about The Bad Guys and its unique visual style. Moving on, I have to talk about the dialogue featured throughout the movie, especially that between the Bad Guys’ leader, Mr. Fox (Sam Rockwell), and his longtime best friend, Mr. Snake (Mark Maron). Whenever these two characters are on screen together, you are bound to watch incredible conversations that feel like something out a crime thriller, or at least a heist comedy like the Ocean’s Eleven movies. These conversations have a wide range of emotions and have the perfect cadence that make them feel like something more than a kids movie (not knocking the genre, but you know what I mean).

There are a couple of scenes that come to mind, but I’ll focus on the opening conversation to avoid giving too much away about the movie. Before we even see any of the characters figure out what they’re doing, we’re thrown into a conversation between Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake that has less to do with introducing the central plot and more to do with building the relationship at the center of the narrative. This diner scene (more on this brilliant sequence later) is absolutely brilliant, and it sinks its teeth into me each time I watch.

The Bad Guys in The Bad Guys

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Voice Actors Are At The Top Of Their Game

Stellar animation and smooth dialogue is nothing unless you have a talented group of actors to bring those performances to life. Luckily for everyone, The Bad Guys voice cast is bursting with talent from top to bottom of the proverbial food-chain. Seriously, with Academy Award winners like Sam Rockwell, Golden Globe recipients like Awkwafina, WTF Podcast host Marc Maron, The Office alum Craig Robinson, Hamilton breakout Anthony Ramos, and other supporting characters, this could very well be the best collection of voice actors in a movie this year.

One of the best things about the voice cast is the fact that they are playing characters in a family-friendly movie who don’t really act like they’re in a family-friendly movie, if that makes sense. Multi-dimensional, fragile, raw, and human (even though they are playing animals) are all ways to describe their performances.

Mr. Snake and Mr. Wolf talking at a diner in The Bad Guys

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Opening Diner Scene Plays Like A Quentin Tarantino Kids Movie

If you recall, Pulp Fiction, which is often considered the best Quentin Tarantino movie, opens with a couple, “Pumpkin” and “Honey Bunny" (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) sitting in a diner and taking part in a sprawling and sometimes aimless conversation about anything and everything before robbing the joint. Well, The Bad Guys does something very similar with its opening conversation between Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake before they rob a bank.

This brilliant opening scene, combined with the fact the main characters use names like Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake like the color-coded robbers in Tarantino’s feature film debut, Reservoir Dogs, hardly seems coincidental. I mean, the entire scene plays like something Tarantino would use in one of his movies, down to the big reveal of all the patrons and employees shaking in fright. It’s so much fun and a nice touch.

The Bad Guys animal cast

(Image credit: Dreamworks animation)

The Heist Sequences Have No Business Being This Good

The Bad Guys has its share of heist scenes (and getaway sequences) throughout its runtime, and each has no business being this good. There’s the brief bank robbery we see in the beginning that's absolutely stunning, both tonally and visually, but it’s short and simply serves as an appetizer to come later on in the movie. 

In the second heist to steal the Golden Dolphin (this was featured heavily in the trailers), we get another amazing moment where Mr. Snake sheds his skin to reveal a second disguise for the second part of the job. The final heist in the movie is just as over-the-top and hard-to-believe as anything else here, but again, the absurdity and level of coolness throughout makes it just so dang good.

Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) in The Bad Guys

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Idea Of Anthropomorphic Animals And Humans Coexisting Is A Recipe For Comedy Gold 

Animated movies with anthropomorphic animals are a dime a dozen, but it’s rare to see a movie featuring this type of character interacting with humans. It’s even more rare to see a movie where these interactions lead to comedy gold. Well, The Bad Guys is that movie. Although the majority of the main characters are different animals, the Bad Guys gang does have a series of run-ins with a human, Police Chief Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein), which leads to some of the funniest moments in the movie in which the hapless cop tries to nab the group.

The rest of the time, the human characters are just in the background, or at the receiving end of some brutal blows during a prison escape sequence, but I’ll stop before giving too much away.

All of this is to say that The Bad Guys is not only one of the best movies on Netflix right now, it’s also one of my favorite movies of the year, and I would have watched it even if I didn’t have three kids obsessed with all things animation. It’s good and you should watch it, too. 

Philip Sledge
Content Producer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.