Henchmen Parent Guide
A super clean super hero movie for kids. Its all star cast and standout visual design almost compensate for its poorly paced, predictable plot.
Parent Movie Review
A young orphan named Lester (voiced Thomas Middleditch) has spent his life fantasizing about becoming a supervillain. Upon seeing an advertisement for the Union of Henchmen, he naturally wants to sign up and speeds off to the lair of “Gluttonator” (an obese villain who threatens to coat the country in radioactive boiling cheese, voiced by Will Sasso). While there, Lester runs into Hank (voiced by James Marsden) and his crew of misfits responsible for the least glamorous duties: cooking, cleaning, and maintenance. After the facility is destroyed by Captain Superior (Nathan Fillion) and his superhero team, Lester is assigned to be Hank’s apprentice. Things are going well until Lester bumps into a suit of powered armor while cleaning…
This film has a few things going for it and its biggest standout is its unusual visual design – perhaps due to the fact that its director, Adam Wood is an alumnus of Pixar. While most productions pick one style and stick to it, characters and background in Henchmen are in varied styles; somehow, this manages to look interesting instead of confused or lazy. Its other saving grace is its all-star cast. Nathan Fillion, despite only being in a handful of scenes, is his usual charismatic and irrepressible self and Alfred Molina has far too much fun chewing the scenery in his role as Baron Blackout for this to be considered work.
The relative lack of content issues in this film is another big plus. Violence is cartoonish and sanitized, with characters never shown with any injuries. There is no profanity in any category, and no depictions of or explicit references to sexual activity. A few crude jokes make obtuse references to erectile dysfunction and male genitals, but kids young enough to enjoy the film will almost certainly be oblivious to the innuendo. Speaking of age bracket, this is definitely a movie for children in the elementary school years. Older kids will be bored by the predictable and childish plot, the slow and uneven pacing, and the lack of dramatic action viewers expect in a superhero flick.
While it is certainly refreshing to find a film with so few content issues, Henchmen’s biggest downside is that it is exceptionally predicable. If it had come out before The Incredibles or Megamind, it might feel a little fresher, but there have been a lot of quirky hero flicks since then, and this just fades into the background. Frankly, I kept getting the feeling that this would be better suited to an early-morning cartoon slot on a children’s network than anything else. Sadly, it lacks the emotional depth and character that would make it stand out against the flood of other films in the genre. Children will likely enjoy it, but for adults, it is a long, long 86 minutes of checking the time on your watch.Directed by Adam Wood. Starring Nathan Fillion, Rosario Dawson, and James Marsden. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release December 7, 2018. Updated December 11, 2018
Watch the trailer for Henchmen
Rating & Content Info
Why is Henchmen rated Not Rated? Henchmen is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: Mild slapstick/action violence throughout. Characters find themselves in perilous situations. Scenes of explosions and civic destruction.
Sexual Content: A few double entendres are present, presumably for the benefits of parents in the audience.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character has a small bar in his home and is shown mixing (but not consuming) a drink. Several main characters are shown having a beer in a bar.
Page last updated December 11, 2018
Henchmen Parents' Guide
Even when we have good intentions, sometimes we make mistakes that can hurt other people’s feelings. How should we handle these situations? Why is it often so difficult to acknowledge our mistakes and apologize to others? When you are the injured party, how can you forgive your friends and help them to avoid making the same mistake again?
Read books about Henchmen
How to Be a Super Villain by Rachel Yu is a picture book aimed right at the funny bone of child readers.
In Baron von Vaddie and the Ice Ray Incident, George McClements gives readers a triumphant villain who starts to wonder if the triumph of evil is as much fun as he expected.
Michael Fry’s How to Be a Supervillain introduces readers to Victor Spoil, a born-to-be-good child of super villains. Can a villain apprenticeship turn this kid around?
Related home video titles:
Do you enjoy watching a movie from the villain’s perspective? Megamind is an entertaining animated story of a supervillain…or is he a superhero? Despicable Me is another supervillain cum hero story with broad appeal.
An excellent and underrated alternative is Sky High (2005) which is plenty quirky, and features a high school for superheroes and sidekicks.