Imagine one of the best campaigns for Dungeons & Dragons that you have ever played. Think about the fun, the hilarity, and all the monsters, dragons, demons, wizards, and undead creatures you fight. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves captures that feeling perfect.
Everything you’d expect out of a Hollywood DND movie isn’t here. It’s no spoiler, but this isn’t a movie about a group of people playing the game. This is an actual fantasy story set in the universe of Dungeons & Dragons.
The Cast Is Absolutely Excellent
The cast of Honor Among Thieves is smashing. Whether it’s Chris Pine as the Bard, Edgin, or Michelle Rodriguez as the Warrior, Holga, everyone knows their role and sticks to it. The rest of the cast rounds out with Rege-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Hugh Grant, Chloe Coleman, and Daisy Head. Sophia Lillis plays Doric, a shapeshifter who can turn into all varieties of animals. The best scenes of the movie, including a daring escape from the Red Wizard Sofina (Daisy Head), all include her. She also gets the most crowd-pleasing moment at the end of the film that’s reminiscent of The Incredible Hulk in The Avengers.
Rege-Jean Page is a Paladin named Xenx, who speaks literally and doesn’t understand colloquialisms. His character doesn’t get as much screen time, which is a shame, because he’s involved with the best swordfight in the film, and some of the funniest moments. Justice Smith’s Simon, the Mage, is the heart and soul of Honor Among Thieves. He’s got the best character arc, going from a thieving con-wizard to a powerful mage.
Michelle Rodriguez brings her usual brand of dry delivery and action to her role. Her scenes are weighty and powerful. You can feel it every time she smacks a guard across the room or swings her axe into someone. She and Pine have excellent chemistry, and she brings a fantastic performance as Holga to the table.
Finally, Hugh Grant and Daisy Head are devilishly evil as Forge and Sofina. Grant has one of the best sh*t-eating grins in the business and plays a con man wonderfully. Sofina is the real villain of the film, and her scenes are legitimately terrifying. She’s a formidable foe for the party to go up against.
The Special Effects Are Top-Notch
Looking at the landscape of big-budget films, there’s a big issue with CGI looking dodgy. That isn’t the case in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. All the monsters and creatures look magnificent. They capture the essence of any D&D rulebook out there. Doric’s transformations are thrilling, and when she’s swapping between Owl-Bear, Mouse, Deer, or Hawk throughout the film, it looks great.
These are lived-in worlds and the time isn’t taken to explain the fantasy elements, which helps the pacing overall. It makes room for encounters with these creatures, places, and folks occupying them. There’s also plenty of humor along the way. Most of it comes from banter between the party that has no problem feeling it’s coming from the players around a kitchen table.
There are a couple of moments throughout that definitely look like they were shot on a green screen, but other than the hallways looking a bit strange in Forge’s castle, the landscapes look beautiful.
What I Didn’t Like About Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
The only thing that I can really call out Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves for are small nitpicky things. For one, Rege-Jean Page needed to be in this movie more. His character was gut-busting, and he just has such a natural star feel. It’s a shame that he’s not in the film for longer, but his overpowered Paladin makes sense why they would need to send him away.
The film also makes the final act feel a bit small in comparison to the grand adventures they go on throughout. It’s used as a joke that Edgin makes plans that always fail, but it ends up coming back around at the end. The story is also a little slice of a grander plot from the Red Wizards, so it sets up for a sequel in that way, but it feels like small-ish potatoes.
You Still Need To See Honor Among Thieves Though
If you’ve ever played D&D, you’ll love this movie. Even if you haven’t heard of Neverwinter, you’ll still probably get a kick out of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. It’s got plenty of heart and soul and never feels like a gigantic advertisement for Hasbro’s tabletop game. The humor hits on all cylinders. All the action scenes are paced in such a way that it feels like they’re almost pausing for dice rolls. Fans of the series will pick up on all the easter eggs strewn throughout.
The cast holds this film up. Chris Pine is a star among stars and elevates the material. If we get more films in the series, this cast only has room to grow. Writers Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, and Michael Gilio gave us a script that celebrates the game without making a joke of it.
Honor Among Thieves is a lovingly crafted fantasy that fittingly brings the best tabletop game to the big screen. To put it bluntly, this movie is a hell of a lot of fun. If that’s something that interests you, you should go see this movie.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves releases in theaters on March 31st, 2023.
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