PAW Patrol: The Mighty MoviE movie poster

PAW Patrol: The Mighty MoviE

In theaters September 29, 2023



92 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , , , , , ,

While some may claim that PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie (2023) is a juvenile version of “copaganda” it’s an adorable little flick about how being yourself is the only way to be a true hero.

Picking up after the events of PAW Patrol: The Movie (2021), talking puppies Chase (Christian Convery), Rocky (Callum Shoniker), Marshall (Christian Corrao), Rubble (Luxton Handspiker), Skye (Mckenna Grace), Zuma (Nylan Parthipan) and Liberty (Marsai Martin), continue their patrol of Adventure City. Led by small human Ryder (Finn Lee-Epp), they believe no job is too big and no pup is too small, and they are each given a fancy pup-enabled vehicle to keep their hometown safe. When mad scientist Victoria Vance (Taraji P. Henson) pulls a meteor from the sky, they discover it contains special crystals that give each of the pups superpowers – powers that coincidentally align with their vehicles. Chase the German shepherd, has speed, Skye, a cockapoo (and team pilot), can fly, Rubble, a bulldog, can become a wrecking ball, Marshall the Dalmatian can throw fireballs (counter-productive, but sure), Zuma the chocolate lab can manipulate water, and Eco, a mutt of unknown lineage, is magnetized. The only one who hasn’t manifested her powers is Liberty, a dachshund, and she’s left at the base keeping an eye on Ryder’s recruits, The Junior Patrollers, Nano (Alan Kim), Mini (Brice Gonzalez) and Tot (North West), are all super enthusiastic Pomeranians. When Skye begins questioning her place in the PAW Patrol, she accidentally makes things worse and it takes all of the pups coming together to defeat Vance and Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) and his cats, fresh from a prison break and bent on destroying not only Adventure City but everyone on the planet – while running for re-election.

Yes, it’s lofty, but the audience is aged 3-9, it’s going to be their whole world for 92 minutes, so go big or go home.

Kids movies, and I mean true kids movies, don’t care about things like science or physics when it comes to danger and peril. Of course, you can use a scrapyard magnet to pull a meteor from space. Of course, when it lands on Earth it’s only going to destroy one PAW Tower and about two blocks of downtown. Of course, Ryder can fashion new suits and vehicles based on powers he’s known about for five minutes. OF COURSE, DOGS CAN TALK. We’re not about to get picky here. This movie is not for anyone whose pre-frontal cortex has developed beyond Sesame Street and The Electric Company. I worried that the audience full of tiny plague vectors hopped up on popcorn, frozen sodas, and gummy bears was going to check out about ten minutes in, but for the most part, they stayed engaged. This movie was exactly their speed, focusing on empathy, teamwork, and having faith in yourself and your character.

I could have done without the subtle misogyny (Ryder, you unhelpful little twit) and weird stereotypes, but we’re not talking Bugs Bunny dressed as Abraham Lincoln admonishing Yosemite Sam. It doesn’t go that far.

If there is one thing we all have to remember, it is that PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie is geared towards very small children with the attention span of gnats. It is bright and colorful, and the action isn’t too harrowing, so the puppies are never in any real danger. What they are is plucky, determined, and willing to work together, even when then things go sideways. Personally, I enjoyed the fact that despite having Recognizable Names like Kristen Bell, Kim Kardashian, James Marsden, and Lil Rel Howery onboard, they did not sound like actors trying to sound like actors voicing animals (Awkwafina and Beyonce, looking at you). They were actors being actors, which can help keep adults from being pulled out of the film. Sure, Victoria Vance, the very colorful mad scientist is over the top, but in kids movies, you don’t go for subtlety.

The complaint about the PAW Patrol: The Movie and the Nickelodeon series, in general, was “copaganda,” or the practice of putting police and an authoritative state in a positive light or glossing over negative acts in favor of the greater good. PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie played more like Puppy Avengers, without a nine-movie arc. Primarily, this is Skye’s story, and her journey from unwanted runt of the litter to PAW Patrol. It’s told simply and with emotion that doesn’t get too deep. I don’t believe it’s problematic to tell kids that anyone can be a hero as long as their hearts are in the right place and I think PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie has its furry little heart in the right place.

PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie (2023) is rated PG 13 with cartoon depictions of danger, like high-speed chases, stopping large planes on busy streets, confinement in dark places, potential drownings, fire, and a meteor crash-landing downtown.

PAW Patrol: The Mighty MoviE is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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