Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Review

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Although Jeremy Irons’ presence made for an unintentionally hilarious watch, 2000’s Dungeons & Dragons otherwise took itself too seriously. That’s not to say players don’t take D&D campaigns seriously. When your character dies in a campaign, it can feel like losing an extension of your soul. However, campaigns also entail players goofing around between mouthfuls of Doritos and shots of Monster Energy drink. Honor Among Thieves captures the playful spirit of a night surrounded around the table with your buddies. The film doesn’t treat D&D as a joke, though. Like The Legend of Vox Machina, it’s an adventure for fans that you can tell was made by fans.

Chris Pine fits the role of Edgin, a wise-cracking bard who will steal your heart and your gold if you don’t keep a close eye on it. Michelle Rodriguez is his partner-in-crime Holga, although the film establishes upfront that they’ll never become an item. Edgin’s heart belongs to his deceased wife, who he seeks to resurrect. Placing his faith in the wrong people, Edgin instead loses his daughter (Chloe Coleman) to a charming scoundrel played by Hugh Grant. And let’s be honest, nobody plays scoundrels better than Grant. Between Paddington 2 and this film, Grant seems to be having a career renaissance. The Hughaissance? We’ll workshop the name!

Edgin and Holga also find themselves going up against a Red Wizard named Sofina, played by Daisy Head. In terms of motivation and dialogue, there isn’t much to Sofina, but Head throws everything into her performance. It doesn’t take much more than a dead stare to intimidate people, leaving the audience to wonder if she ever blinks. To reunite their family, Edgin and Holga must recruit a team of fellow thieves, including Justice Smith as a bumbling sorcerer and Sophia Lillis as a tiefling druid. Regé-Jean Page practically steals the show as a paladin who manages to be noble without being a stick in the mud. The energy between this cast of colorful characters is reminiscent of the best MCU movies, which adds up since directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley worked on Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Where the humor in Marvel films has been lacking as of late, Honor Among Thieves is genuinely witty throughout. The comedy never becomes distracting like in Thor: Love and Thunder, however. Bradley Cooper may very well have the funniest fantasy cameo since Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride. In addition to effortlessly juggling fantasy and comedy, this is the most innovative heist movie in some time. It’s surprisingly nail-biting at times with the filmmakers making impeccable use of the magical environment. When the characters aren’t breaking into castles and dungeons, they’re running for their lives. A standout set piece finds Lillis’ Doric transforming into several creatures to evade the authorities. The effects offer a refreshing blend of digital and practical, creating a world that’s familiar yet beaming with personality.

Recommended:  Thelma Review

As mentioned before, Honor Among Thieves doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it knows when to take itself seriously. There’s a moment towards the end that you can see coming. Yet, it’s executed in a way that makes you think, “Oh hey, this movie was actually about something.” It’s an unexpectedly thoughtful film about family, be it the one you’re born into or the one you build along the way. Considering that a D&D party can feel like a family, it’s an appropriate theme for this film to convey.

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About Nick Spake

Nick Spake has been working as an entertainment writer for the past ten years, but he's been a lover of film ever since seeing the opening sequence of The Lion King. Movies are more than just escapism to Nick, they're a crucial part of our society that shape who we are. He now serves as the Features Editor at Flickreel and author of its regular column, 'Nick Flicks'.

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