I can’t remember the last time a theatrical film took my breath away the same way Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves did. The film introduced me to a whole new cinematic world — one somewhat similar to those of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, sure, but still a world you can’t mistake for any world else other than its own.
You don’t need me to tell you how obsessed Hollywood has become with pre-existing IP — and yes, this film is based on probably the most popular tabletop role-playing game of all time, so it’s not entirely original. Still, with no connections to the previous Dungeons & Dragons films, this film is a new property at least cinematically, and it truly is a breath of fresh air.
What’s even better is that it’s a high fantasy property that gets high fantasy right, and with how rare those are, this movie isn’t just a breath of fresh air, it’s a genuine lifesaver. This might be the film to finally get Hollywood out of its nostalgia rut, or at least kick-start the process. With the amount of great high fantasy books out there, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll very soon be seeing announcements for adaptations of books by Scott Lynch or Brandon Sanderson.
However, the most important reason why Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves succeeds is simply that it is a lot — and I mean a lot — of fun. Both behind the camera and in front of it, you can feel every single person involved in the creative process of this movie having the time of their lives. The camera work is stupendous, the visuals are arresting, the screenplay is fast-paced and funny, and the entire movie is jam-packed with energy.
Set in a world filled with sorcerers, shapeshifters, and dragons, Honor Among Thieves follows Edgin, a thief who escapes from prison with his fellow thief Holga. The two then search for Edgin’s daughter, Kira, but after finding out she’s been lied to about why her father was sent to jail, the two thieves band together along with a sorcerer and a druid in order to bring down Forge Fitzwilliam, the Lord of Neverwinter who currently acts as Kira‘s guardian.
The entire cast is a joy to watch, but easily the cast member that captivates the most is Hugh Grant as Forge Fitzwilliam. His performance here is another shining highlight of his current career renaissance, as he pretty much steals every single scene he’s in, which is saying something given how stellar the cast is.
Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, Honor of Thieves’ directors, very clearly loved the film they were making, as well as the property they were adapting. I do wish they had a little more confidence in their screenplay, though — while most of it is great and hilarious, some jokes overstay their welcome or feel like they were added as a way to ensure the film still has the audience’s attention.
Still, it’s impossible to let that bother you too much when so many of this film’s ideas work really, really well. There’s so much creativity and imagination here, and not a single dull moment. Despite that, the movie also never feels rushed or overstuffed — if anything, it left me desperate for more and I eagerly look forward to whatever’s next in the franchise.
For a lot of adults, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will make them feel like a kid again. Not because it’s revisiting an intellectual property from their childhood, but because it’ll give them the feeling of discovering a brand-new world they can get invested in that’s filled with brand-new characters they can love. Kids, on the other hand, are sure to eat this movie up, talk about it non-stop, and might even get encouraged to create fantasy worlds of their own.
Whether you’ve played the tabletop game or not, this film is an absolute must-watch. It’s guaranteed to satisfy both the kid and the kid-at-heart.
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Overflowing with energy and soul, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is guaranteed to be one of 2023’s greatest screen offerings with its splendid cast, exciting screenplay, arresting visuals, and irresistible sense of fun.
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