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Review: ‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ is a Fun Adventure that Caters to Hardcore ‘D & D’ Fans and Newcomers Alike

March 27, 2023Ben MK

The landscape of modern cinema is littered with the bones of movies that have set out to adapt popular games for the big screen and fallen woefully short of expectations. Whether it's video games like Street Fighter, board games like Battleship, or role-playing games like Warcraft, there's something about taking a successful game franchise and turning it into a bonafide blockbuster that has eluded even the most competent of filmmakers. But are all who undertake such a perilous quest doomed to failure?

Enter Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, a lighthearted fantasy adventure that endeavors not only to satisfy fans of Wizards of the Coast's bestselling tabletop RPG, but to make itself accessible to general audiences as well. Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the story follows Edgin And Holga (Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez), an unlikely duo who, when we first meet them, have been locked up in a jail cell for two years, after they were caught trying to steal an artifact known as the Tablet of Reawakening. Despite their situation, though, Edgin hasn't given up, nor is he counting on being paroled for good behavior. After staging a daring prison break, both he and Holga embark on a journey to reunite with the other members of their band of thieves, which includes rookie magician Simon (Justice Smith), scheming con man Forge (Hugh Grant), a powerful witch named Sofina (Daisy Head), and Edgin's pre-teen daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman). What they find instead, however, is deception and treachery, all thanks to a devious plot concocted by two of their own.

Consequently, Edgin, Holga and Simon set out on a daring, new mission — to attempt to win back the tablet and rescue Kira, who's essentially being held captive by Forge, who in turn has conned his way into becoming the new Lord of Neverwinter. In order to do so, though, the trio will need to convince some new allies to join their ragtag group. Teaming up with a Druid by the name of Doric (Sophia Lillis) and a Paladin named Xenk (Regé-Jean Page), they must survive the subterranean depths of Underdark and do battle with unkillable foes, all while trying to avoid being eaten by a comically obese dragon with an appetite for destruction. To make matters worse, they'll also have to thwart an evil plan by the villainous Red Wizards, who have been planning to overtake the realm by unleashing a deadly plague capable of transforming the living population into an army of the undead.

Needless to say, taking decades of Dungeons & Dragons lore and wrapping it all up in an enthralling tale that won't alienate D & D newbies is a tall order to fill; yet Daley, Goldstein and co-writer Michael Gilieo prove themselves up to the challenge by packing Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves with ample humor and thrills, as well as a little bit of heart. It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned veteran of the beloved TTRPG or just a moviegoer in search of a fun and action-packed good time, there's something here for everyone. And when you consider the fact that Daley and Goldstein's last joint directorial effort was the crowd-pleasing Game Night, and that they also co-wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming, it's no surprise that the result is as charismatic and entertaining as it is.

Blending the heist thrills of the Ocean's trilogy, the epic fantasy of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, and the fast-paced action of the Fast & Furious franchise, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is that rare type of film that truly adds up to the sum of its parts. Most importantly, however, it doesn't take itself too seriously, which helps weigh the eight-sided dice in the movie's favor, especially when it comes to establishing a colorful and compelling world that audiences won't mind revisiting in future installments.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves releases March 31st, 2023 from Paramount Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for fantasy action/violence and some language. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 14 min.

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