SPONGEBOB: Sponge on the Run*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film starts with a David Attenborough-esque narrator guiding us into the ocean to admire all its splendor before going into Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny) wakes up on another beautiful undersea day with his beloved snail Gary. He and Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) annoy Squidward (Rodger Bumpass) before SpongeBob spends his day with Gary around town.
SpongeBob goes to The Krusty Krab to begin work. Plankton (Doug Lawrence) spies on the Krusty Krew as he plots yet another new scheme to steal the Krabby Patty formula. He thinks he needs to target Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), but his computer wife Karen (Jill Talley) notes that it was always SpongeBob who has disrupted his plans. Meanwhile, Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence) brings Mr. Krabs a new robot she invented called Otto (Awkwafina), who is supposed to work with Mr. Krabs for free, but unfortunately, Otto has a mind of his own and tries to displace Mr. Krabs. The cheap crustacean will not have it, so he dumps Otto into the Chum Bucket’s dumpster, where Karen decides to adopt Otto.
Later that night, Plankton waits until SpongeBob is leaving to sneak into the kitchen to steal an uneaten Krabby Patty. However, SpongeBob re-enters after thinking he forgot his keys, causing Plankton to lose the Patty and fall into hot fry oil. This leads him to realize that Karen was right about SpongeBob always being the one to throw a wrench into his plans.
In the Lost City of Atlantic City, the vain King Poseidon (Matt Berry) orders his Chancellor (Reggie Watts) to bring him a snail to use its slime to rejuvenate his face, which he fears has a wrinkle. When it turns out that the snail is out of slime, Poseidon forces it to join the other snails that he has kept as slaves after they no longer serve his purpose. Poseidon then sends out a decree to fetch him a snail for his face. Plankton catches wind of the message and hatches a sinister plan.
SpongeBob returns home to find his home ransacked and Gary is now missing. The poor sponge breaks down, looking at a picture of himself as a child at Camp Coral where he first met Gary. After he goes around town putting up missing posters, Patrick shows up to help his best friend. They find the message from Poseidon and figure out where Gary must be. SpongeBob worries that he is not brave enough to face Poseidon to save Gary, but with encouragement from Patrick, the two set off on a new adventure. Plankton then just drives by with Otto to guide them there, since it was his plan all along to send Gary to Poseidon to get SpongeBob out of the way. Otto then takes off with the two to Atlantic City.
In SpongeBob’s absence, Squidward and Mr. Krabs try to placate hungry customers by trying to have Squidward cook the Krabby Patties himself, only for the grill to explode and have the customers rage out on the two and wreck the Krusty Krab.
SpongeBob and Patrick are still on the road, whereupon they find themselves in a shared dream taking place on land. They come across an old west type of town where they are led by a living tumbleweed called Sage (Keanu Reeves) to find their inner courage. He gives the two a challenge coin to help them continue on their journey. They then enter a saloon where a group of cowboy pirate zombies are gathered, unable to have their souls cross over. They suddenly break into a song-and-dance number led by a man called The Gambler (Snoop Dogg). The leader of the zombies, El Diablo (Danny Trejo), then shows up, and he is the one keeping the zombies prisoner. He attempts to do away with SpongeBob and Patrick, but they inadvertently burn him to death by opening his curtains, thereby allowing the zombies’ spirits to be free. Otto goes to get them and bring them back underwater, where Sage turns out to be real and continues to help the two on their trip. He shows them a window where they can see that Gary is being used for Neptune’s face, as well as the other snails forced into labor.
Plankton goes to The Krusty Krab to make Mr. Krabs feel bad about the loss of his business. Krabs is so bummed out without SpongeBob that he willingly gives Plankton the formula, but Plankton feels less triumphant since he can’t rub it in Mr. Krabs’s face.
SpongeBob and Patrick make it to Atlantic City, where Sage warns them not to be drawn in by the city’s temptations. The two are confident that this won’t be the case, until they see all the snacks and rides and other fun places that cater to them. After they are tapped out, Sage rolls over to chastise them for losing focus and remind them that they are still looking for Gary. Fortunately, they happened to make it to Poseidon’s palace and are one step closer to getting Gary back. They hit a snag when they see that they aren’t allowed in unless they are performers. A show is being held, hosted by a fish version of Tiffany Haddish. SpongeBob and Patrick crash the show and do a little dance number before attempting to get Gary in front of Poseidon, who has renamed Gary “Fred”. The two are captured and imprisoned.
Sandy goes to find Squidward and Mr. Krabs still gloomy at The Krusty Krab without SpongeBob. They then see a news report on TV about SpongeBob and Patrick getting captured and being prepped for execution, as well as Gary being held captive by Poseidon. Plankton shows up and admits that it’s his fault that everything happened and that he wants to redeem himself. Krabs leads them to the Patty Wagon, which turns into a hero roll to allow the four of them to fit in as they make their way to Atlantic City.
SpongeBob feels he is a failure for being in his current predicament. When SpongeBob thinks that the challenge coin will save them, Patrick admits that he gambled it at the casinos they were at the previous day. SpongeBob scolds him for it, only to be reminded by Patrick that he egged him on to throw the coin in for a bet. Sage rolls in to visit them again with more not-so-helpful words of encouragement but says the coin was just symbolic of SpongeBob needing to find his courage. The Chancellor then comes in to take them out for their execution.
Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and Plankton sneak into the palace to save their friends. Sandy ties up the Chancellor and other palace workers to step on the stage and make Poseidon give SpongeBob and Patrick a chance to defend themselves. All of SpongeBob’s friends present evidence as to why he is a great person who deserves to be let go, and most of them stem from their experiences with him at Camp Coral. Patrick was lonely and homesick until SpongeBob offered to be his friend. Sandy was encouraged by him to pursue her dream of becoming a scientist. Squidward tells about how he tried out for the talent show with his clarinet and lost to SpongeBob and Patrick, which made him want to quit playing the clarinet altogether until the two gave him their award to make him feel better. This leads Squidward to admit that even though SpongeBob annoys him to no end, he really does love him (and hate him) and sees him as one of his best friends. Mr. Krabs also mentions how it was SpongeBob who inspired him to start his own restaurant. SpongeBob is moved to tears, but Sandy then tells him to get ready as they enact their plan to save Gary.
Using the house band as a distraction in an elaborate musical number, the gang grabs Gary and starts making their escape from the palace. After fighting off some guards, Otto drives by to get the gang out, but they are stopped by Poseidon, who says he will let them go if SpongeBob gives Gary up. With one more moment of encouragement from Sage, SpongeBob stands up to Poseidon and declares that he will not do it, stating that Gary is his friend and he refuses to give him up. After mentioning his other friends, Poseidon slowly starts to realize that he has no real friends of his own due to his behavior, leading him to feel sad. He thinks nobody will care about him because of his imperfections, but SpongeBob assures him that real friends don’t care about things like that. This leads Poseidon to shed all that makes him look young and fit, revealing he is bald, fat, and saggy, but he knows he will be happier now that he is free. He also agrees to set all the slave snails free.
SpongeBob and Gary return home, where he has adopted a few other snails, and Bikini Bottom has become a snail sanctuary.
The film is dedicated to SpongeBob’s creator, Stephen Hillenburg.
SpongeBob SquarePants's beloved pet snail Gary is snailnapped by King Poseidon to use his snail slime to keep his face looking young. This was all set up by Plankton to get rid of SpongeBob since he always foils his plans to steal the Krabby Patty formula. With help from Patrick and a robot named Otto, as well as a living tumbleweed called Sage, the young sponge sets off on a journey to the Lost City of Atlantic City to rescue Gary.
In SpongeBob's absence, business at The Krusty Krab goes under, and both Squidward and Mr. Krabs find themselves missing SpongeBob. When they and Sandy learn about what's been going on with SpongeBob, they, plus a repentant Plankton, set off to Atlantic City to help their friends after their failed attempt to save Gary has landed them in prison and set up for execution.
The gang makes it to Poseidon's palace to tell the king how great of a friend SpongeBob is. They then distract Poseidon long enough to grab Gary and almost escape the palace, but after Poseidon has them cornered, he lets Gary go after realizing that SpongeBob has true friends and he doesn't. With encouragement from SpongeBob, Poseidon vows to change his ways, and he lets go of other snails that he was keeping captive, and everyone returns home to Bikini Bottom.