Grab your dice, paper, and pencil and roll for initiative. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is an enjoyable romp and an early kickoff for the summer movie season. Think about it! There’s action, adventure, giant monsters, wizards, and a whole lot of laughs. Plus, as a Dungeons & Dragons player, there’s a lot there for fans of the game, as well as those who just want a fun, fantasy film.
Be advised: spoilers are ahead, though I won’t give everything away. If you’ve not seen it, consider this your sign to run to the movie theater, watch the film, then come back to see if you agree with my assessment.
A Cast with Chemistry
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves boasts a fantastic and diverse cast. Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith, and Regé-Jean Page make up our party of a bard, a barbarian, a druid, a sorcerer, and a paladin respectively. That’s a pretty well-rounded D&D party and each performer plays well into their roles. Pine embodies all the smooth-talking charisma you’d expect from a bard like Edgin. Watching Rodriguez, who plays Holga the barbarian, kick everyone’s ass and take the piss out of Edgin is one of the highlights of the film for me. I’d love to watch them play a buddy cop film.
Lillis as Doric the tiefling druid is one of two lawful good characters. The second is Page’s Xenk Yendar, our paladin. Both are fantastic and fun in their individual ways. Who says lawful good has to be boring? Rounding out our party is Smith as our half-elf sorcerer thief, Simon Aumar. Simon has good humor of the self-deprecating variety, and watching his growth through the film is a definite highlight. Hugh Grant as Forge, our conniving conman villain is good fun too. If you enjoy a solid ensemble cast, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves might be the film for you.
A Critical Hit for D&D Players
If you play Dungeons & Dragons, there’s plenty to appreciate in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. From the more obvious plot points of wild magic, tablets, and attuning a magic item to use it, to our party standing on a 5×5 square in the final act and one big, hilarious Easter egg for old-school D&D fans like me, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a love letter to fans of the game.
But even if you’ve never rolled up a character in your life, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is accessible for the fantasy film fans in the audience too. And besides, it’s really hard to beat Lillis turning into an owlbear and every other critter in the forest. If you love D&D, you’ll want to check out this film.
Your Attack Missed!
While I enjoy Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves quite a bit, there are a few things that don’t quite hit the mark for me. The biggest offender is that the plot is a bit on the predictable side. It leans hard into some dramatic story tropes that are easy to spot from a mile away. That bit of story predictability did lessen my enjoyment a bit, but not enough to keep me from watching this one again.
Any other quibbles I have with the film are minor and probably more due to my personal preferences than anything. However, I will say that while I guessed what would happen in the finale, the way it happened did surprise me, which was a nice change of pace. As I said, it’s not enough to keep me from recommending this film, but I do think it’s worth a mention if you’re bothered by a bit of predictability.
The Heart of the Story
One thing I didn’t expect in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is the heartwarming father-daughter story and its driving narrative of grief. I was expecting a light-hearted romp. I was not expecting Pine’s Edgin to be coming to grips with the murder of his wife and the loss of time with his daughter while he was imprisoned.
That bit of emotional depth really added strength to a somewhat predictable story and made the bits of predictability more forgivable. It elevated a fun fantasy romp to a film with some heart. Take inspiration for that one, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley.
Overall, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves seems to be an early kickoff for the summer movie season. It has all the trappings of a fun summer trip to the movies–action, adventure, humor, and the tiniest bit of romance. Also, while Dungeons & Dragons is an intellectual property, it’s not one that’s bogged down by the dogma of backstory or the continuity restraints of an overarching universe. It’s accessible all on its own and my goodness, it was downright refreshing to watch a film where I didn’t have to look for clues that lead to the next film or were a reference to something else. I was able to sit back and just enjoy the show for a couple of hours.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that while I don’t always find it necessary to see a film in 3D, I think Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is worth the extra few bucks to see in 3D. Several shots in the film are made for that kind of viewing experience. They didn’t feel contrived or hokey either, as many 3D film shots do. My viewing experience was in a 2D Dolby screening. While the picture and sound were stunning, I’m going to splurge on a 3D or 4DX screening, if available, for my second viewing.
Roll for initiative. Gather your adventuring party. Grab some popcorn or maybe potatoes and salted pork, and get yourself to the theater to catch Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. You’ll be glad you did.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is playing in theaters now.