THE BAD GUYS*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens in Los Angeles. Charismatic Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) is at a diner with his best friend, Mr. Snake (Marc Maron). The other patrons fear them because they are predatory animals, but they are merely having a conversation regarding Snake’s birthday, which is that day. They leave the diner and casually walk over to the bank next door to rob it since everyone is scared of them. They make their escape and are pursued by authorities, led by Chief Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein), who has made it her life mission to bring down Wolf and his comrades, the Bad Guys.
Wolf and Snake meet up with the rest of their team as Wolf tells the viewers their roles – he is the smooth-talking leader, Snake is an expert safecracker, Ms. Tarantula/”Webs” (Awkwafina) is their hacker, Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) is the master of disguise, and Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) is the team’s loose cannon. As they drive maniacally through the city, Luggins and her squad pursue frantically, only for the Bad Guys to elude them and make off with their loot.
The gang returns to their hideout, where they have amassed a ton of stolen gold, money, and priceless artifacts. They celebrate Snake’s birthday, even though he hates birthdays, but he is still happy to be spending it with his best friends (though he would never admit that to them). Wolf turns on the news to see reporter Tiffany Fluffit (Lilly Singh) reporting on their latest heist. Governor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) calls the Bad Guys washed-up has-beens who aren’t gonna get any further than where they already are, which irks the whole gang. Diane announces a gala to present the Golden Dolphin Award to the guinea pig Professor Rupert Marmalade IV (Richard Ayoade), as he is a known philanthropist. Wolf then decides to spite Diane by organizing a heist with the rest of the gang to steal the Golden Dolphin.
The Bad Guys get into their disguises on their way to the gala. Wolf stops to chat with Diane in order to get her to take a picture so he can use her eye for a scanner. On his way in, Wolf tries to snatch a purse off an old lady, but when she stumbles forward and nearly falls, Wolf decides to help her up. She tells Wolf that he is a good boy, which causes his tail to wag and make him feel something he never thought he would ever feel.
Shark causes a distraction while Wolf and Snake make their way to the room with the award, only for Diane to have taken extra steps to ensure that the Bad Guys wouldn’t ruin anything. Tarantula tries to hack her way into system but is held back by a firewall. Piranha farts because he’s nervous and the gas makes its way to the computer room, causing Tarantula to pass out as Luggins almost makes her way in, but Shark stops her, and Tarantula regains consciousness and allows the guys to grab the award before Diane can present it to Marmalade. However, just as the gang starts to make their escape, Marmalade makes a speech that triggers Wolf’s tail-wagging, blowing their disguises. They attempt to escape via a grappling hook, but it just rips Wolf’s pants off, and they are all arrested.
Just as the gang is being taken into custody, Wolf attempts to ask Diane for a second chance, seemingly implanting an idea in Marmalade as he proposes an experiment to Diane about rehabilitating the Bad Guys into becoming model citizens. Diane agrees to it, but Wolf informs the gang that he made this up so that they can continue their work as the Bad Guys in order to resume their heist and steal the Golden Dolphin for real.
The Bad Guys later go to Marmalade’s compound where he has a lamp of a meteorite, modeled after an actual meteorite that fell into the city the year before, which Marmalade had used for his philanthropy and built his reputation off of. He begins to put the Bad Guys through tests of good deeds, starting with sharing a push-pop that Shark loves to eat. However, Snake is too greedy and eats it whole, causing Shark to eat HIM whole. Next, Marmalade has Wolf dress up like a grandma so Piranha can help him cross the road. When Tarantula eggs Piranha on, he gets distracted and causes Wolf to get hit by a truck. Finally, Marmalade has them attempt to save a cat stuck in a tree, but they only scare it further up by baring their fangs and going “HERE KITTY KITTY”. Marmalade asks them what they are actually good at, and when they mention stealing stuff, he gets an idea.
Marmalade takes the gang to Sunnyside Labs, where hundreds of guinea pigs are being held captive. He gives the Bad Guys cute onesie pajamas as they make a plan to get inside the lab. Shark makes another distraction while Snake makes his way into the room where the guinea pigs are kept. Unfortunately, guinea pigs are his favorite food, so he devours most of them. When the rest of the gang finds him, they attempt to free them, but they are exposed as the door opens and all the protesters outside watch as it looks like they are committing a crime.
Diane stops by Marmalade’s place at night to say that she is pulling the plug on his experiment after their disastrous lab rescue, but Wolf manages to smooth-talk his way to getting back in her good graces and letting him try again, to which she agrees, as she does have some faith in him. Wolf then makes a sincere attempt to rescue the cat in the tree, talking to it gently and saying how he admits that he knows people see him and his friends as monsters. The cat eventually warms up to Wolf, and when he gets down, Marmalade shows the Bad Guys that he recorded Wolf saving the cat, which is earning them good publicity. However, Snake overhears Marmalade talking to Wolf about potentially having to cut his friends out of his life if he really wants to go good.
The gang attends a new gala where Marmalade will receive the Golden Dolphin, as well as having the meteorite on display. The Bad Guys attempt to carry out their second heist, with Snake attempting to get the codes to the security system off Luggins since she is literally handcuffed to them. When he is almost spotted, Piranha takes the stage and belts out a song while Shark and Tarantula help out, and Wolf dances with Diane. Wolf also becomes overwhelmed when he sees that the people of the city are actually seeing him as good and not scary for the first time. When the gang is set to present Marmalade with the award, where they are also planning to swipe the award, Wolf has a change of heart and lets Marmalade take the Golden Dolphin instead of the decoy they meant to use. The lights then go out as was earlier planned, but now the meteorite is gone, and the Bad Guys are immediately blamed (not helped by a “So long, suckers!” sign that they meant to use going up at the worst possible time). They make a run for it, with Wolf giving Diane a map with a location circled on it. Although they try to escape, they are captured once again.
Marmalade goes into the police van to speak to the Bad Guys, where he reveals that he was the true villainous mastermind behind everything that has happened – he was the old lady in disguise that triggered Wolf’s desire to be good, and he’s been using the gang as pawns for his own scheme to pull off his own major heist. Wolf attempts to grab Marmalade violently, which only causes the public to see them as villains once again. Diane becomes suspicious and follows the map that Wolf gave her. She is led to the Bad Guys’ hideout with all their loot.
As the Bad Guys are being incarcerated, Wolf admits that he sabotaged his own heist because he doesn’t want to keep doing bad deeds, and says that the rest of the gang is holding him back. Their feelings get hurt, and Snake attacks Wolf. Moments later, a former notorious thief, the Crimson Paw, comes into the prison and begins fighting the guards. She reveals herself to be Diane, as this was her old persona before becoming governor. She frees the Bad Guys and brings them to shore to go stop Marmalade, but the rest of the gang turns their backs on Wolf after what he said, with Snake feeling especially betrayed by him.
Diane brings Wolf to her own hideout and explains that she also nearly stole the Golden Dolphin, but she didn’t want to be perceived as a sneaky fox like she always had been, so she turned to good. Meanwhile, Marmalade uses the power of the meteorite to mind control all the guinea pigs in the city to rob all the trucks with money in them as they are meant to go to charitable causes.
Snake, Tarantula, Piranha, and Shark return to their lair and find all the stuff they stole is gone. Snake goes to the fridge and finds one last push-pop, which he willingly gives to Shark because he is said. The others realize that if Snake (the biggest jerk on the team) is capable of doing good, then maybe they are as well. Their bodies start to wag just like Wolf, but Snake angrily insists that they will only ever be Bad Guys, and he slithers away.
Wolf and Diane make it to Marmalade’s lair and nearly disable the meteorite, but Wolf finds the Golden Dolphin and gets electrocuted when he touches it, along with Diane. Marmalade traps them and hangs them over a mechanism with spinning blades, while also revealing that Snake has joined him. After they leave, they are found and rescued by Shark, Tarantula, and Piranha, and they head out to stop Marmalade with the meteorite in tow.
The Bad Guys track down the trucks all across the city, with Piranha placing gadgets on them to reroute their destinations after Tarantula hacks them with Diane’s help. After redirecting the trucks back to their original destinations with the money, the Bad Guys almost bring the meteorite back, but then decide they need to get Snake back from Marmalade. They chase Marmalade’s chopper, but he attempts to throw Snake out unless they give back the meteorite. Wolf almost causes them to drop the meteorite unless Marmalade lets Snake down easy, but the guinea pig throws Snake out and makes off with the meteorite. The Bad Guys drive off an unfinished bridge so Wolf can rescue Snake. They reconcile and grab the others to grapple their way to safety.
Luggins pulls the Bad Guys up, eager to finally arrest them. Wolf, however, is now willingly complying and turns himself in along with his friends. Marmalade crashes his chopper, appearing to “return” the meteorite until it starts blinking, and he realizes that the real one was switched for his lamp. Snake then reveals that his plan all along was to turn the tables on Marmalade. He pretended to join his side so that he can switch the real meteorite for the lamp, and the real one explodes in Marmalade’s compound. Making things worse for him is that a diamond that he took from Diane earlier is a valuable diamond that she had already stolen, leading Luggins to believe that Marmalade was the Crimson Paw. He is arrested as well, but the Bad Guys feel good about themselves for their heroic deeds. Wolf then reveals that he was the one who left the push-pop in the fridge to inspire his friends to do good, which surprises Snake.
One year later, the gang is freed from prison, and they are picked up by Diane and the cat from the tree, as they are now official members of the Bad Guys.
The Bad Guys are a gang of thieving criminals, made up of charismatic leader Mr. Wolf, grumpy safecracker Mr. Snake, hacker Ms. Tarantula, master of disguise Mr. Shark, and hot headed Mr. Piranha. They act as villains since the rest of the world sees them as scary predators. After a failed heist, Wolf convinces Governor Diane Foxington to go along with an experiment from guinea pig philanthropist Professor Marmalade to rehabilitate them to become model citizens, though this is just a ruse so that the gang can pull off their heist and retreat from the city.
Wolf genuinely wants to be seen as good and also enjoys doing good deeds. During the second heist, he has a change of heart and aborts the plan, only for a rare meteorite to be stolen from the gala where the heist was supposed to take place. Turns out Marmalade is the real villain, as he planned all along to use the Bad Guys as pawns in his scheme so that he can use the power from the meteorite to control an army of guinea pigs to pull off his own heist. Diane frees the Bad Guys from prison, as she used to be the notorious burglar, Crimson Paw, but the rest of the Bad Guys turn their backs on Wolf since they think he was always going to cut them loose after going good.
As Marmalade sets his plan in motion, Wolf and Diane go off to stop him but are captured. Snake also appears to join Marmalade, but Shark, Tarantula, and Piranha also realize they like doing good deeds, so they rescue Wolf and Diane and help them foil Marmalade's scheme. They go off to get Snake, who gets dropped from a chopper by Marmalade, but Wolf and his friends rescue Snake. They willingly turn themselves in to the police, but Marmalade is further humiliated when he realizes the meteorite he took was a lamp switched out by Snake, and the real one is destroyed inside his home. Furthermore, he is accused of being the Crimson Paw and is arrested.
One year later, the Bad Guys are released from prison and are now joined by Diane.