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‘PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie’ barks up a familiar tree

Those cute pups from the TV show kids love are back in their second big-screen adventure. This time, they’ve inherited superpowers.

Christian Convery voices Chase, Callum Shoniker is Rocky, Finn Lee-Epp is Ryder, and Marsai Martin is Liberty in "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie."Paramount Pictures

I imagine one of the joys of being a parent is putting up with the bad taste of your kids when they’re young. It’s inevitable that they will latch on to some book, TV show, or song that they’ll want to experience more times than your patience and sanity will allow.

Your humble reviewer is no exception. My mother recently told me, in language colorful enough to shame Richard Pryor, that my 5-year-old self was obsessed with Dr. Seuss’s book “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” She claims she read it to me exactly 4 bazillion times. I have to believe her, because I can recite that entire book verbatim right now. And it’s a terrible book — it’s no ”Green Eggs and Ham.”


This leads me to “PAW Patrol,” the animated kiddie series about cute pups who handle municipal duties such as policing and putting out fires for a place called Adventure City. “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” is their second big-screen outing. Cal Brunker, who helmed 2021′s “PAW Patrol: The Movie,” returns for this superhero-influenced sequel.

Mckenna Grace as Skye in "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie."Paramount Pictures

Sitting in a theater that was appropriately filled with more energetic little kids than grumpy adults, I had my first run-in with a show that one of my friends with kids said made her renounce her dog-person status and get a cat. The kids were better behaved than the adults, as expected.

“PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” reintroduces characters like Rubble the English bulldog (Luxton Handspiker), who wears a hard hat and is into construction; Marshall the Dalmatian (Christian Corrao), who puts out fires; Skye (Mckenna Grace), who flies a plane; and Adventure City’s police dog, a German Shepherd unfortunately named Chase (Christian Convery).

The leader of PAW Patrol is a human named Ryder (Finn Lee-Epp), who looks about 10 years old. He’s apparently too old to watch the show he’s on, but not too young to run services for a large metropolis.


Finn Lee-Epp as Ryder in "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie."Paramount Pictures

In keeping with the trend to which all animated features must adhere, “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” has some big-name guest voices. From the first film, Marsai Martin (TV’s “Black-ish”) returns as Liberty the dachshund, as does Kim Kardashian, who plays — of course — a gussied-up French poodle. Lil Rel Howery has a cameo as a TV news anchor, and the main villain, Victoria Vance, is played by Taraji P. Henson.

Henson has a great time rehashing Belle Bottom, the Afro-clad villain she played in 2022′s vastly superior “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” (Full disclosure: I love the Minions!) Here, her evil plan is to pull meteors out of the sky with a gigantic magnet because they may contain powerful crystals.

One of those meteors goes off course, blowing up PAW Patrol HQ before landing in the middle of Adventure City. Inside are crystals that bestow superpowers on whoever wears them. So, in a nod to the Power Rangers (or to combat those who consider “PAW Patrol” to be copaganda for kids), the pup team all gain superpowers and become superheroes based on their respective skill sets.

Suddenly, Marshall can shoot fireballs from his paws, Rubble is a canine wrecking ball, and Skye can fly without her plane. Skye also gets the biggest superpower of all: She has a song sung just for her by Christina Aguilera.


Off they go to fight not only Victoria but their usual nemesis, Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo), who, with his giant hat and purple outfit, looks like Willy Wonka played by Martin Mull.

“PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” is not a good movie, but it should appeal to its intended audience. I admit I was bored, but to my surprise, I didn’t find it that much of a chore to sit through. Keep in mind that, unlike many parents, I only had to sit through it once.



Directed by Cal Brunker. Written by Brunker and Bob Barlen. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Luxton Handspiker, Christian Corrao, Marsai Martin, Mckenna Grace, Christian Convery, Finn Lee-Epp, Ron Pardo, Kim Kardashian, Lil Rel Howery. 92 minutes. At AMC Boston Common, suburbs. PG (puppy peril, parental torture)

Odie Henderson is the Boston Globe's film critic.