Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – When best friends Harold and George are threatened by their principal, Mr Krupp, with being permanently separated into different classes, they accidentally manager to hypnotise him and convince him that he is the superhero in their own comic book series, Captain Underpants. But when he believes he has powers he doesn’t, and the evil Professor P starts to experiment on how to eradicate laughter from children, will the ineffectual trio be able to prevent a humourless catastrophe? 

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) – Director: David Soren

captain underpants first epic movie poster suitable for children

By Source, Fair use,

Rating: U

Running Length: 89 mins

Starring: Kevin Hart, Thomas Middlemarch, Ed Helms

Genre: Animated, Comedy


Tra la LAAAA! Based on the popular book series by Dav Pilkey, the first big screen outing for the pants wearing superhero, Captain Underpants. Acting as an origin movie both into the series and for the creation of Captain Underpants himself and with a highly distinctive animation style, the gags come flying thick and fast with most landing like the flump of questionably clean tighty-whiteys thrown in the face.

What makes ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’ stand out is the warmth of the humour. At first glance all is as per normal with a miserable authoritarian figure (Mr Krupp) making it his mission to destroy the fun in all others, whilst plucky pranksters, George and Harold, do their best to lighten up the day and fight ‘the man’. But when Krupp is hypnotised into believing he is Captain Underpants, the characterisation cleverly ensures that Harold and George are never cruel or mean-spirited in their use of newfound power over their arch-nemesis. Indeed, we learn to start sympathising with Krupp himself. Other characters thrown into the mix – including hilarious over the top evil genius, ‘Professor P’ (we won’t spoil the fun in learning his full name for those who don’t know) and Melvin Sneedy, a suck up with no sense of humour whatsoever – are fun sized planets orbiting the tightly stitched core of two best friends and their liberated (non) super pal.

The humour is delightfully juvenile without ever descending into being too crude. And, quite frankly, there is something about a humongous toilet with radioactive leftovers as bowl water attacking a school with cannon launched toilet rolls that cannot fail to appeal. ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’ is a genuine hoot from start to finish. It’s has a sense of humour that is more than aware of its own silliness and does so with a heavy wink to the audience to come join in with sheer daftness of it all.

The worst threat faced for most of the film is that Harold and George might have to spend their days in (gasp!) separate classrooms. This is mortifying for them and they feel will spell the doom of their best friends forever. They feel it with the intensity that only schoolchildren with no concept of life beyond the endless childhood can feel. So, the kids will love the whoopee cushions, rude sounding names, and ode to the joys of simple childish pleasures, whereas adults will get a kick from the background gags and the homage of the nostalgic joys of childhood……..and the fart jokes.


During an introduction sequence using hand drawn animation we learn that on this planet everyone only wears underwear. We see mostly men but there are some women in just bra and pants although nothing is sexual about this as the animation is basic. We see a baby being launched into space ‘by underpants elastic’ as his home planet is doomed. People are running around screaming and once the baby is launched we see the planet ‘explode’ from a distance. The whole sequence is done quickly and with humour and so is unlikely to cause upset.

Two child characters are creating a comic book together and are proud of their efforts, but another child comes along and destroys the comic by tearing it up. They throw it into the air and the action freezes whilst the two author characters continue to walk and talk. They are irritated by the destruction of their comic but not upset.

When the mean-spirited Principle Krupp is talked about we see examples of his behaviour which culminates in his blasting a flame thrower at a kitten and engulfing it in flames. When this happens the kitten itself is obscured by a big black bar that reads ‘censored’ and the shot quickly ends with one character questioning ‘did that really happen?’ – making it seem like that part was exaggeration. This moment is shown in quick comical cuts.

In Mr Krupp’s office there are various ‘motivational’ posters about discipline and authority. The authority picture is that of a shoe about to step on an ant. Later some characters make a joke at the expense of Mr Krupp’s weight when he says he ‘feels’ the proof of their guilt ‘in his gut’, and they snicker to themselves that he ‘must have a lot of proof in there’.

A flashback to when two characters first met has several jokes about the planet ‘Uranus’ and how it is a ‘gas giant’.

One character says to another that he ‘pee’d a little bit in my underwear!’

During a story telling animation a huge turtle smashes through a classroom wall and destroys everything by lasers blasting out its eye. Children run screaming but the moment is comical and over quickly. Later, Mr Krupp says that he has kept the (small-sized) toy turtle on him at all times, including the shower. We see a close up of the toy’s face which looks traumatised and a tear rolls down its eye.

Captain Underpants smashes through a window and runs straight out onto the road and he is hit by a car. He is unhurt. Later in the movie, Professor P also runs into the road and is hit by three separate cars. One driver yells ‘bozo!’. The Professor is also unhurt, but running out onto the road could be imitable.

Two child characters climb into a motor crane and steal it, driving it away. Later, one says ‘it’s really not that hard to drive a crane’. There are no repercussions for this.

One character describes horrible things that may be found in another’s house, such as ‘jars of plucked out eyeballs’ and ‘bones of students’.

Whilst driving a bus through flaming hoops, one character laughs that ‘nothing is more fun than fire!’

A school full of children are hit by a brain ray that eliminates their sense of humour. They go slack faced, their eyes glow eerily, and they all talk in unison. Later, two central characters are hit by the same ray and, after resisting for as long as possible, also succumb. However, as soon as their eyes begin to glow the scene cuts to stylised intersection cut outs of inside their heads and we see animated versions of their brains ‘talking’ to each other about how to fight back, so there is no real suffering here.

A giant robot toilet attacks the school. One character is dropped into the toilet bowl that is full of glowing green highly toxic liquid (earlier shown to be a large depository of school lunch leftovers). The lid slams shut and the fate of this character is unknown for around 5 minutes.

A large amount of normal sized toilets becomes mutated into sentient evil toilets. They attack a restaurant and one man is ‘eaten’. He swirls around before the toilet seat slams down over his head. A hero character quickly appears to save the day and the movie ends a this point as if a new epic battle is to be fought.


With plenty of silliness for kids and plenty of knowing nods to adults without ever being vulgar or disrespectful, ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’ is a triumphant balance that works for everyone. Although when literally spelled out there is some potentially unsuitable content, the context is always light and the threat is never prolonged or overly serious for our erstwhile heroes. With plenty of daft humour throughout, we would recommend that ‘Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie’ is suitable for children aged 5 and up. There is nothing unsuitable for children aged below 5 particularly, but younger children may just miss out on the fast paced gags, and scary toilets may not be a good idea for those you are trying to potty train!

  • Violence: 1/5 (comical and over the top but never any injury inflicted)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (Harold and George are mortified by the idea of being separated at school (despite living next door to each other) and there are one or two prolonged shots and montages of their fears of losing contact)
  • Fear Factor: 1/5 (scary toilets and people of authority, but the protagonists are never really that afraid themselves)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (lots of childishly amusing words, such as ‘bozo’, laughing at ‘Uranus’ and other fart jokes, one company being called ‘Snotco’, and lots of laughter at a character with a very silly name).
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (an unnecessary joke at the expense of someone’s weight)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of childhood friendship, fighting ‘the man’, the dangers of repressing your dreams, responsibility for your actions, the importance of a sense of humour, and the power of being positive.

Words by Michael Record


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