Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is some of the most fun you can have at the theaters this year. It’s the perfect blend of action, comedy, heart, and nerdiness. Directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley deliver another knockout win with a colorful cast of characters and thrilling set pieces that not only honor its source material but also tell an entertaining story that’s enjoyable for everyone. Even if you’re not too familiar with DnD, like myself, the film does an excellent job at easing you into the adventure. So gather your best buds and let your imagination run wild; Dungeons & Dragons is a natural 20 and a natural winner at the theaters.
Bard Edgin (Chris Pine) use to live a simple life with his wife, but when the allure of riches ends up getting his wife killed by Thayans he turns to a life of thievery to support his newborn daughter Kira, joining a ragtag group of miscasts to steal what they can. That is where he learns of an tablet that has the ability to resurrect the dead. In an effort to bring back his wife and Kira’s mother, Edgin teams up for one last heist but ends up caught, and after spending two years in prison, he and barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) plan their escape and vow to reclaim the lives they lost. Much has changed in the time since they have been away, however, and old friends turn into new foes in search of power. That won’t stop Edgin from reuniting with his daughter, who will stop at nothing to get her back, even if that means saving the kingdom in the process.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves plays out exactly as you imagine a DnD campaign would be organized. Everyone is different and brings their own talents to the team. Bard Edgin is the de facto leader of the group and comes up with the plans, even if they might not be good ones. Barbarian Holga is the brawler with strength who can fight her way out of almost any situation. There’s Simon (Justice Smith), a young sorcerer who lacks confidence at casting magic but always has good intentions. They also enlist the help of Doric (Sophia Lillis), a shapeshifting druid who wants to save her land and people from destruction. They’re all capable in what they do but nowhere near the best. They’re outcasts of sorts. Edgin’s ideas rarely go according to plan so they’re mostly thinking on their feet and just trying to not get killed. That’s where the film feels most like a Dnd campaign.
Honor Among Thieves is creative in its approach to its action scenes. Situations start off simple enough with goals such as escape from prison, sneak into the castle, or break into the safe, but things quickly get out of hand and everyone just has to essentially wing it. Characters rely on one another to make it work. Sophia Lillis is fantastic as someone who can take the shape of any creature, allowing her to sneak into places undetected or fit through crevices too tiny for a human. Pair that with Simon’s magical spells and they’re not a half-bad team. Edgin’s planning often causes more trouble than success, but his spirit is what keeps the group together. As the bard, he’s the cheerleader of the group and more often than not is the source of the film’s humor as well. Pine is the trifecta; he can act, he can sing, and he can make you laugh. The moments never feel forced or over-the-top, either. It’s a constant stream of action, humor, and heart.
As a non-DnD person, I found myself excited by the lore and world building of the film. I do know a few things, like what a gelatinous cube is, but still the majority of everything was new to me. For true fans of the table top game, I’m sure the references run deep. The film doesn’t rely on the source material to be enjoyable, though. You don’t need to have encyclopedic knowledge of everything and everywhere to have fun. Like a good Dungeon Master, Honor Among Thieves guides you along its journey. Fans will no doubt find excitement among a reference or namedrop, but casual audience will never feel left out of the fun.
Dungeons & Dragons is simply a fun adventure film that features dungeons, dragons, and a whole lot more fantasy creatures and items to awaken the nerd in all of us. To put it plain and simple, it’s just good storytelling. It hits all the necessary marks whether it’s for action, humor, or emotional drama, and every hit is a critical roll. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a triumph of a campaign.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is some of the most fun you can have at the theaters this year. It’s the perfect blend of action, comedy, heart, and nerdiness.