The Dungeons and Dragons Movie is a Fun Ride

Nik Chrissanthos, Assistant Arts & Entertaintment Editor

There is plenty of reason to be skeptical about Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. Chief among them being Wizards of the Coast’s recent controversy regarding their changes to the Open Game License. And hot off the heels of this controversy is the aforementioned movie. Despite any misgivings I may have had going in, I found myself having a good time. It is not going to blow your mind, but if you like fun adventure movies like the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies and the fantasy aesthetics of Lord of the Rings this will be right up your alley.

First and most importantly, the characters in this movie are mostly good. Chris Pine as Edgin is a delightfully charming rogue who has a good dynamic with the rest of the party, and even outside of that has a nice little arc about rescuing his daughter after he’s been in prison for two years. Michelle Rodriguez plays an excellent barbarian in Holga, having some of the film’s best choreographed fight scenes. She also has her own little story arc about how a past relationship fell through which I found to be really refreshing given her role as the big strong fighting person of the party. Also, I appreciate that both her and Edgin are not romantically involved. It’s low hanging fruit given that they are the two “main” characters, and I respect the decision to not have them be a couple despite raising a child together. Justice Smith as Simon also has a really solid character arc as a seemingly failed sorcerer who just needs to believe in himself more. The only character that is somewhat lacking is Sophia Lillie as Doric, who’s motivations for joining the party are somewhat vague. And on a personal note, she is supposed to be a Tiefling (a half human half demon) but I thought they could have gone way further to show that on screen by making her horns and tail way bigger, or giving her a nonhuman skin color like red or blue. That being said, her druid ability to change into animals is used to great effect throughout the entire movie in and out of combat.

These characters, alongside some of the side characters and antagonists, have a really fun dynamic, but most importantly it doesn’t take away from the serious moments. There are lots of moments in this movie that were surprisingly heartfelt, if a bit tropey to some degree. I believe this movie would still work if stripped of the D&D aesthetic, which is a good sign.

Which brings me to my next point, I adore how many times throughout the whole movie the party has to think outside the box. It genuinely does feel like some of the things I have come up with during my own game sessions. I also like how often the party’s plans go awry, which feels especially similar to how some of the best laid plans in D&D can often get disrupted by sheer bad luck.

Aesthetically, this movie is basically as spot on as humanly possible to what the D&D aesthetic is (barring the aforementioned example of Doric). The movie’s locations are very colorful and vibrant, and the creature design for the non-human races looked pretty solid. I noticed some good looking Dwarves, Elves, Halflings/Gnomes, Dragonborn (humanoid dragons), and Aarakocra (bird people). My only nitpick in this regard is that I would have liked to see these races represented in the main cast. I even noticed some familiar location names from the D&D lore which was fun like Baldur’s Gate, Waterdeep, Neverwinter, and the Underdark with the latter two being key locations in the story.

The mostly strong characters and the Dungeons and Dragons aesthetic are enough for me to say this movie is worth a watch for fans of the tabletop game. Even if you aren’t into D&D, I think there’s enough here to enjoy on its own. Like I said, it’s not groundbreaking and at times it leans into some tropes that you may find played out. These could potentially be remedied in a potential sequel, which is possible judging by the announcement of a D&D streaming series on Paramount+. I would personally love to see this series or potential followup D&D films adapt campaign settings like Barovia for its classic gothic horror aesthetic and cunning vampire antagonist Strahd von Zarovich, or Eberron for its futuristic steampunk influences and how it evolves D&D’s setting and races beyond the basic fantasy tropes it helped establish. The framework is there thanks to Honor Among Thieves, the sky is now the limit for a potential D&D Cinematic Universe.