Movie Review: "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Harold (Thomas Middleditch) and George (Kevin Hart) are best friends in elementary school. They love potty humor like most children their age but their passion is to create their own comic books. Their favorite and most developed comic book character is Captain Underpants (Ed Helms), a superhero with great strength, the ability to fly and a costume that nothing more than tighty-whities around his waist ad a curtain around his neck. The boys go to a miserable school filled with miserable children, miserable teachers and a mean, strict principal. In order to cope with school, the boys have resorted to ellaborate pranks that are usually at the expense of the principal or teacher. This has made it so that Principal Krupp (Ed Helms) has it out for the boys and whos ultimate goal is to catch the boys in the act then punish the boys accordingly. When they are caught, the boys hypnotize Principal Krupp into thinking that he is Captain Underpants even though he has no real powers. This is when the boy's lives start to get out of hand. They now have to manage their hypnotized Principal before he gets himself, or anyone else, hurt. To make things worse, a mad-scientist/genius has applied for a job at the school and his only goal is to find a way to make it so that the children at the school (and eventually the rest of the world) are incapable of laughter. The boys must now find a way to manage their "super"-principal, and stop their new science teacher from fulfilling his evil plan.
The Pros & Cons
Captain Underpants (+6pts)
Slow Start (-4pts)
Kid Humor (+5pts)
Villain's Goal (-5pts)
Pro: Captain Underpants (+6pts)
I was surprised to end up enjoying this character which I think is mainly because he was essentially two very different characters wrapped up into one. On one hand, he is Principal Krupp who is an angry man devoted to ending Harold and George's friendship. On the other hand, he is Captain Underpants who is a hypnotized, normal Principal Krupp who believes he is a superhero even though he has no gadgets or abilities. At first I thought this would be a very one-note character, but once he boys hypnotizes him, everything gets pretty chaotic. At the snap of a finger, Principal Krupp turns into Captain Underpants. When exposed to water, Captain Underpants turns into Principal Krupp. This was a dynamic that was interesting to watch unfold. The boys try to manage Captain Underpants, but he continuously is exposed to water in which he turns back into the furious Principal Krupp. So the boys basically have to babysit this incapable superhero throughout their story which made for an interesting movie to watch.
Con: Slow Start (-4pts)
I unfortunately thought the beginning of this movie dragged a bit. It sets up the boys friendship with flashbacks. It sets up their history of pranks. It sets up their history with Principal Krupp. It sets up their passion for creating comics. It basically has a ton of setup even though most of that setup was fairly self-explanatory and could have been severely cut down. That mixed with the fact that the humor in this movie was mostly kid humor (which I will explain later) made the beginning of this movie tough to get through for an adult such as myself. I hope other adults do not have this issue.
Pro: Climax (+5pts)
I thought the climax of this movie worked pretty well. It has silly action and a silly premise with silly humor staying consistent throughout. This movie gives a superhero climax battle but keeps the overall tone consistent as a kids animated comedy. It never takes itself seriously but still gives a climactic finish. There's also a page flip sequence which worked really well. They have a very specific name for it in the movie and I do not remember what that name is, but it was a fun little sequence that took place during what could have been a generic battle. It was different, it was entertaining and did not hurt the pacing of the battle.
Con: Stakes (-6pts)
One issue I had with this movie was the stakes. I did not think the stakes were high enough for the kids to resort to such drastic measures. I am not referring to the villain's goal here, I will get to that later. Instead I am referring to two plot points that I did not think should have worried the boys so much. The first was that Principal Krupp wanted to separate the boys into different classrooms down the hall from each other. I get wanting to be in the same class as your best friend but being in different classes does not mean the end of a friendship. Nonetheless the boys treated it as the potential end of their friendship and reacted as such. As if they would not be allowed to hang out in their treehouse after school.
My next stakes issue was with their concern over Principal Krupp. When he is running around hypnotized as Captain Underpants, the boys are getting concerned that he will get hurt so they run around trying to babysit him. I get that logic, but in an animated kids movie, Principal Krupp getting hurt would solve all of their problems. I just do not think the boys should have been so worried about this man especially when if is just a kids movie.
Pro: Kid Humor (+5pts)
As should be no surprise in a movie titled Captain Underpant: The First Epic Movie, this movie really lays into potty humor. I think in that level, this movie works well. I think, as a result, kids (over the age of three) will really enjoy this movie. I also think I parents, who resort to potty humor for their kids, will also appreciate movie. I will say that I do not think this is an animated movie that will work for adults who are not parents or have children in their lives to see this movie with. That being said, thus was a kids movie and so it was made for kids. Keeping that in mind, the comedy in this movie was a success.
Con: Villain's Goal (-5pts)
I thought the villain's goal in this movie was way too cheesy, even for a kids movie. A villain in a kids movie, what does he hate? Laughter. The villain in this movie, Professor P (Nick Kroll), wants to end laughter on a global scale. Oh and he wants to start with children, because generic cheesiness. Now, losing laughter is obviously a bad thing, but it made the villain in this movie way too generic and did so in the cheesiest way possible.
Grade: C+ (76pts)
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie was a pretty average kids movie. Kids will find it very funny, I am sure, but it has its fair share of Pros and Cons. Dreamworks is hoping for another big hit franchise along the lines of Shrek and its sequels but this movie was not it. It has its moments and its title character was interesting but the best animated movies appeal to audiences of all ages. This movie does not do that. It was very much made for kids, which is fine, but in doing so it suffers from a few plot issues that should not be ignored.
I think this is a movie to see if you have children in your life and, even then, I recommend waiting for it to hit home video if you can. That way, if you (an adult) do not find it entertaining, you could always let your kids love it while you do something else.
If you ARE an adult that enjoyed this movie. Please feel free to comment below!