Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is the first movie adaptation of the popular novel series that began way back in 1997. For whatever reason it took 20 years for this movie to arrive but better late than never I guess because this somewhat delivered on providing a funny, enjoyable, well animated film that sicks true to the humour of the novels. Captain Underpants follows students George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch) who accidentally hypnotise their principle Mr Krupp (Ed Helms) into becoming the unlikely superhero Captain Underpants and chaos ensues. Overall I enjoyed what this movie had to offer, the animation was very crisp and fluid, the humour was fitting of the novels, and the plot as very fast paced, simple, and fun to watch. Kevin Hart was not annoying in this role which is a relief and all of the performances giving these previously voiceless characters voices did a great job. Some bits of humour fell flat and there was the occasional musical number that didn’t fit at all but for an old fan of the books there is much to love here.
What is ironic about this movie is that in a lot of other animated films the presence of silly humour such as fart and poop jokes would be criticised for being unfunny and unwarranted but here it fits so damn well. For those who know the humour of the books this is exactly what you expect from any Captain Underpants material, I mean, one of the major villains is a giant robotic toilet and the main villain’s name is Poopypants……. you can’t say you didn’t expect it. In terms of delivering this humour and making it work Hart, Middleditch, Helms, and Nick Kroll (Professor Poopypants) do a great job bouncing jokes off each other in ways specific to their unique characters. Some jokes here and their didn’t hit but for the most part the humour was quick, witty, and provides a really god number of charming little laughs. The running gags present are pretty amusing and don’t overstay their welcome.
The story itself is pretty engaging and is adapted from the novels in a clever way to where having it work in the form of a film is more important than simply sticking to the content of a single book. The majority of the story is ripped from the first novel as far as the origin story goes but elements such as villains are taken from other novels simply due to being more iconic and serving a more interesting story. What is also cool are the easter eggs that really capture the heart and soul of the novels. References to the classic Flip-o-Rama pages are present as well ass Poopypants’ name generator, George & Harold changing sign text, fourth wall breaks, and a number of other quick callbacks littered throughout.
In the end I got a good kick out of this movie, much of which was due to the many nostalgic elements harking back to when i read the books as a kid. The humour is pretty on point and there are plenty of chuckles that will keep you awake for the entire duration, which sits nicely at just under an hour and a half. The story was quick and concise, the performances fit the characters and bounce humour off each other really well, and it’s just overall a good entertaining family movie people of many ages can very much enjoy.