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Film Review: ‘Captain Underpants’ Saves Us From the Summer Snooze

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO - I’m sure from the title you can glean the level of seriousness to expect, but how funny “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” turns out to be is no laughing matter. The film’s surprising irreverence and respect for the comic book genre makes this the animated hero we’ve needed, and the second best superhero film out this weekend (SEE: Wonder Woman).

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

For obvious reasons, most animated films like this one are aimed at children, but only the truly impressive ones incorporate aspects for adults, realizing that they will be the ones who have to sit through the film with their children. The general humor in the film caters to young boys, with enough potty humor to clog a toilet with. Nicholas Stoller adapts David Pilkey’s popular book series enough care to stay faithful to the series’ superhero essence while creating an original story with it. Even though the humor may seem low-brow, the film’s self-awareness keeps the adults from faulting it too much for that. Stoller shows he understands the source material and the comedy, which he has shown us in the past by writing films like the two most recent “Muppets” films and “Neighbors 2”. Instead of focusing mostly on Captain Underpants and his origins, Stoller decides to emphasize the much more relatable buddy tale of George and Harold, which keeps this film from turning into a typical superhero origin story we’ve seen so many times before.

Stoller brings many elements from the first novel’s story into the film, which is enough to appease fans old and new. Some of the changes he incorporates into the film will cater more to the fans who have followed the series since the beginning. These fans are now in their mid- to late-20’s (like me) and the film offers a surprisingly well-thought and incorporated social and political message that is meant to appeal to them. Since the beginning, there is a message of rebelling against tyranny throughout. The message? “Make school fun again!” There is even a push to save the art program which was shut down by a man with a hairpiece, a big body and little hands who has the temper of a toddler. Including these not-so-subtle references to Trump and our current predicament adds a layer that might go over the heads of the younger, intended audience, but will fill our inner child with glee.

“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” opens everywhere on June 2nd. Featuring Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll, Ed Helms, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal. Screenplay by Nicholas Stoller. Directed by David Soren. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Jon Espino’s full review of “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”

captainunderpants1
‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’ will have you reacting just like this.
Photo credit: Dreamworks Pictures

StarContinue reading for Jon Espino’s full review of “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”

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