After years of Marvel and now DC films there’s a bit of fatigue going on with these superheroes so it’s refreshing to have a frankly daft superhero called Captain Underpants whose origins are made clear from the outset in what turns out to be a pair of kids George and Harold who write their own comic books. Voiced by Kevin Hart and Tom Middleditch the best friends are the school jokers and the bane of the life of Mr Krupp, their headmaster, to such a degree that he decides to split them up. For all of us it’s easy to remember our best friend in our early school days and the thought of being separated mortifies them both who determine to find a way to stop him. So they do what any kid does and hypnotise him using a plastic hypno-ring from a box of cereal. Amazed that it works they then convince him that he is Captain Underpants and there follows one of several decent sequences where the unwitting Mr Krupp saves the day believing that he is the superhero only snapping out of his alter ego and back to reality when he gets wet but bought back to superhero–dom when Harold or George click their fingers.
With the kids having averted the end of their friendship through being separated they find a new teacher Professor P starting work at the school who soon reveals an ulterior motive for working at the school as wanting to bring an end to children’s laughter in the world. Thankfully the pair have Captain Underpants at their disposal.
There’s much here that kids will love most obviously the puerile potty humour which is appropriately encapsulated with the evil professor P’s weapon being a giant toilet in the films climatic scenes. Jauntily shot there are enough diverting moments for adults too with scenes re-enacted by sock puppets or Harold & George stepping out of the story in a self reverential sequence shown via a flick book. It’s a subtle ode to the creativity of children. The appeal here for kids is that adults are the enemy whether it be the headmaster out to break up friendship or a professor determined to stop kids enjoying themselves but both adults have a motive for their actions. For adults who will be dragged along to this there are far worse films you could have to sit through although perhaps scenes in the headmaster’s office with Captain Underpants wearing only his underwear with the two boys present are slickly ignored. But that aside this first adaption of Dav Pilkey’s books gets it mostly right and keeping in tradition with its Marvel counterparts the film even has a very funny mid credit sequence that’s worth staying for.
Here’s the trailer…….