Movie Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)

Synopsis: After his wife is murdered by red wizards, Elgin leaves the order of peacekeepers he had been working with, teams up with Holga and becomes a thief to support his young daughter, Kira. When he learns about a tablet that can bring his wife back from the dead, Elgin and his team of thieves attempt one last heist, but he and Holga are captured. They escape two years later and learn their former friend/colleague, Forge, has partnered with a red wizard to make himself a lord and, while raising Kira as his own, brainwashed the child with lies about her father. Determined to get Kira back and knock Forge down a few pegs, Elgin assembles a team to break into Forge's vault and steal both his treasure and the tablet he had sought two years earlier.

Who's in it? The movie stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Sophia Lillis and Chloe Coleman.

Review: I wasn't a big fan of the Dungeons & Dragons film that came out 23 years ago and, when I saw trailers for this one, decided right away not to see it at the theater. I discovered it was available on Paramount Plus earlier this week and, somewhat curious about it from the trailers, decided to give it a try.

I'm still glad I didn't pay money to see it at the theater. However, it ended up being a better film than I was expecting.

I thought the overall plot was entertaining. It was slightly more complex than I normally want to see in an action movie, but not to the point I couldn't follow along. And the film has quite a few entertaining characters in it.

In particular, I liked the team of Forge (Grant) and his red wizard, Sofina (Daisy Head). While the protagonists were likable too, movies like this only work when you have a strong antagonist. Forge was a formidable opponent by himself, mostly because he was now a lord with an army backing him up. The addition of Sofina made him all that much more powerful. Plus, since it was pretty obvious Forge was more or less a pawn and Sofina was up to something, it made the ending a lot less predictable as well. 

I also liked how the movie required a bunch of secondary adventures, doing everything from waking the dead to find a powerful weapon to trying to survive a dragon so they could retrieve that weapon. Yet, despite that, the main plot was still wrapped up by the end of the movie, something that is very refreshing during an era when many movies just work to set up the sequel.

My only real complaint about the movie is there was really nothing in it that screamed "Dungeons & Dragons" to me, despite putting that in the title. If anything, it felt a lot like I was watching a spinoff of The Lord of the Rings films. It might have helped to put some more monsters in prominent roles because I'm pretty sure even The Lord of the Rings movies had more of those.

Final Opinion: I didn't hate the movie and it is definitely better than the role-playing-game-based film from 2000, but the movie does still fall short in some places and, again, I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in a theater as a result.

My Grade: B-


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