Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Spoiler-Free) Review
It’s rare to find an original fantasy film that’s bright, vibrant, and just wants to have fun nowadays. Lately, the genre has been shrouded in dark realism and generally boasts adaptations of prominent works over original stories. That’s what makes Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves a remarkably refreshing entry to the genre as it brings audiences into a highly entertaining and hilarious adventure.
While it might be based within the Dungeons and Dragons world, specifically the Forgotten Realms campaign, Honor Among Thieves tells an original story centered on two thieves trying to fix a past mistake. After breaking out of prison, Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) attempt to try and steal back a magical artifact taken by their former ally Forge (Hugh Grant) and the Red Wizard Sofina (Daisy Head). Thus, Edgin and Holga form a new team and embark on a grand adventure to reclaim their honor as thieves and stop Forge and Sofina’s plans for power and greed.
Honor Among Thieves brings the D&D world and lore onto the big screen in incredibly fun and accessible ways. Even as someone who isn’t overly familiar with D&D and really only has experience with the game from watching online series like Critical Role and CollegeHumor’s Dimension 20, it’s clear that the film is set within the D&D world. There are some awesome creatures, like Owlbears and Displacer Beasts, that aren’t seen much in other fantasy films, but are amazing to see in action here. There are some nods to legacy characters and lore from D&D history that’ll definitely please fans and give newbies some good story to chew on. Even the idea of everyone having a role in the group plays into that D&D mindset, and Honor Among Thieves fits into the ideology of how Critical Role and Dimension 20 have made D&D more accessible.
The film doesn’t try to dumb itself down or go too deep into the nitty gritty of D&D mechanics. Rather, it presents a balanced fantasy experience that’ll be pleasing for longtime D&D players and fans as well as newcomers looking for a vibrant fantasy adventure. Frankly, even if someone came into Honor Among Thieves not caring to become a new D&D fan, they’ll leave plenty pleased with the hilarious comedic chemistry of the cast, the stunning action sequences, and surprisingly emotional adventure the film takes them on.
With Game Night directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein helming Honor Among Thieves, the film delivers gut-busting banter and hilarious situations at every turn. Nearly every part of the group’s adventure has some kind of light-hearted element to it that’ll make audiences roar with laughter. From the group facing a fearsome, but hilariously pudgy dragon to an interrogation of corpses not going as planned, there are plenty of moments that’ll leave viewers in stitches. When this group’s plans don’t exactly come together, viewers can expect some chaotic comedy to ensue. Daley and Goldstein solidify themselves as kings of comedy with Honor Among Thieves and the film’s consistent hilarity makes it an easy crowd-pleaser.
However, the comedy wouldn’t be the same without the incredible cast that’s been assembled for Honor Among Thieves. Pine excellently leads the cast with a charismatic energy that drives the entire film, and he’s the perfect kind of imperfect leader audiences want in a fun team leader. As Edgin, Pine brings a sharp tongue and singing prowess to be a great bard and really nails the goofy vibes the film evokes as well as the emotional parts of Edgin’s arc. Truthfully, the entire cast is flawless with the hilarious chemistry that comes through in their banter and the way everyone fits their roles excellently. Standouts will certainly include Justice Smith as the group’s doubtful sorcerer, Simon, whose struggles with magic lead to plenty of funny moments. Plus, Grant as Forge is constantly funny thanks to the smarmy charm he brings and great line delivery he has.
Rodriguez and Sophia Lillis also have funny lines as Holga and Doric, respectively, but really kick ass in the film’s fun action sequences. The mix of magic and hand-to-hand combat offers a great variety of action to be shown on-screen and they’re backed by great choreography and visual effects. Holga is absolutely fierce in fights with her brute strength and adaptiveness making her a tough foe for anyone she faces. Doric’s ability to shapeshift into animals makes for a great showing of the film’s effects and is an excellently part of thrilling fighting and escaping sequences. Even the magic shown in the film, largely through Sofina, is awesome to watch and the duel that Simon and Sofina have in the film’s finale is tons of fun.
The place where Honor Among Thieves really surprises viewers is through the story and character arcs because of how invested they’ll become. Sure, the central adventure the group goes on has plenty of intriguing locations and engaging moments that’ll keep viewers hooked till the very end. But it’s the little moments with these characters that’ll really invest audiences into their stories and eventually melt their hearts.
Most of the main adventurers have arcs and story moments that will warm any cold heart and play out in a satisfying way. However, they don’t compare to Edgin’s surprisingly emotional arc of being a great father and leader. While he might seem like a total goof at first, Edgin has really awesome story beats that have some sneaky tenderness to them thanks to great direction and Pine’s performance. His moments in the film’s finale might make for one of the best endings I’ve seen recently mainly because of how emotionally-charged and immensely satisfying it is. Honor Among Thieves is undoubtedly a fun theater ride, but it’s got some real heart too and audiences will definitely vibe with its emotions.
Honor Among Thieves has everything that audiences want in a wildly fun and superbly made fantasy adventure and features a tremendous cast and comedic bite to boot. It boasts so much potential for D&D on the big screen that’ll hopefully be fun to see develop into something bigger and if future films can be as genuinely charming and enjoyable as Honor Among Thieves, D&D could be a dominant film franchise. Frankly though, Honor Among Thieves is enough on its own to be worth a trip to the theaters since it’s one of the best films of the year thus far.
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