An epic for everyone to enjoy…
As summer goes into full swing, the most epic of comic book superhero movies are starting to roll out. With Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy already staking their turf, what was going to come out that would challenge their box office throne? Well, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, duh.
If you haven’t figured out by now, Captain Underpants is not a serious superhero movie by any means. It is clearly a kid’s movie. Yet it is one that people of all ages can enjoy.
Captain Underpants, like Wonder Woman, is an origin story. We meet two grade schoolers, George and Harold. They are pranksters who co create their own comic book, Captain Underpants, in their spare time. Their principal is always trying to catch them red handed during their pranks and one day succeeds to do so. As punishment, the principal threatens to put the boys in separate classes. To thwart this measure, the kids are able to hypnotize and make the principal think he is Captain Underpants. The dim-witted Captain Underpants turns out to be quite the handful as he masquerades around in solely a cape and his underwear, not realizing that he is just a normal man.
Being that this is an animated movie, the animation is always an integral factor into the enjoyment factor of the movie. This is visually pleasant film as the animation is unique to what is mainstream these days. It is a blend of 3d rendering with a 2d type of look that worked with Charlie Brown last year. The style of the characters are also different than the Disney cookie cutter look that dominates the animated landscape. It almost is an homage to Calvin and Hobbes in terms of its look.
The story is a decent one. It’s predictable but provides enough funny beats as it moves along. The beginning of the third act gets a little hectic however as I struggled not to zone out. The meta commentary on comic book creations is a touch which I enjoyed. Also, the villain is cliché and overcooked but that is the point of this satirical look into the hero/villain comic book dynamic.
The next thing that immediately stands out besides the animation is the voice work. Well, basically Kevin Hart’s voice work. He voices George Beard. Kevin’s voice is so recognizable it almost undermines the believability of other animated characters he has voiced, but it works here for the George character. The other big name is Ed Helms as the principal/Captain Underpants. I didn’t realize it was him until I saw the credits, but he does a respectable job breathing life into the humorous non-superhero.
In the mainstream animated kid’s film market, it’s been kind of a slow year. Captain Underpants is possibly the one to change the tide. Is it the epic movie that it dubs itself to be? No, it’s not. Yet, it’s still a creative touch on the super hero genre that younger children can enjoy with their families.