I don't quite know what I'd expected from Early Man but a Neolithic origin story for football was not it. To say this is an English film would be an understatement; and yes, I do mean specifically English, not British. I mean, there's a character calls Asbo and the pig is called Hognob for crying out loud. It's also got an all-star British cast, with Timothy Spall, Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Rob Brydon, Richard Ayoade, Johnny Vegas, Simon Greenall, and both Miriam Margoyles and Mark Williams from the Harry Potter franchise (Professor Sprout and Arthur Weasley). Plus, obviously, it's made by those bastions of British film, Aardman Entertainment.
The Aardman touch is ever-present in the character design, visual gags, and overall humour, but beyond that I feel like the film largely misses the mark. Maybe it's just because I'm not that into football (or that I'm not that English) but the jokes were more likely to make me roll my eyes than chuckle or smirk. The plot also felt a little ridiculous. "Things happen" is a fairly accurate retelling of events.
The characters themselves feel like rip-offs of more famous Aardman inventions, with Hognob clearly filling the Gromit role, and even Queen Oofeefa feeling a lot like past romantic interests in the Wallace & Gromit franchise. There's very little new here, despite the novel setting. Plus, of course the weird mashup of dinosaurs and cavemen left me a little cold. I get that this is a comedy film, but it just felt like an unnecessarily unscientific setup that never really had any impact on the wider plotline.
Overall, I found it enjoyable enough and I don' think the film is bad in any discernable way. It just wasn't for me.