“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is epic fantasy and a lot of fun

Omoleye Omoruyi
"Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves"
“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

Before you become hyped-up, you are not going to see dragon fire – like in Games of Thrones – or dungeons where dragons are kept, but you will be drawn into a sequence of several missions that succeed the “we need a plan” debacle in “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”.

The 2023 film is Gothic-themed, and you will almost believe the aesthetics – a super high-rise prison-building for thieves (with strange creatures), hidden treasures and magical elements in mountains, old-time castles and amphitheatres – all not new and starkly consistent with such stories, but highlight the intentional effort at storytelling.

My dear reader, you are reading the review of a fantasy film – so rich in fantasy terminology in a way that seems like its creators sat back in art class when they were children and made those characters, then developed them as they grew older.

Co-writer/directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (they co-wrote “Spider-Man: Homecoming”) and co-writer Michael Gilio filled the film with references to the D&D game with name drops like “Baldur’s Gate” and “Neverwinter”, but there are whispers among critics that the filmmaking is shlocky, in comparison to the game, and should have stood with practical CGI effects.

From this part of the world, we don’t quite agree. Not because the film industry in Africa is aeons behind in fantasy/magic/CGI productions, but because “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” drops those moral lessons like drizzles in the morn, and the dialogue is stellar. (We will get back to that).

Read also: “John Wick 4” hits the right note; the ending hints at more

"Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves"
“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

The Plot – “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine) and Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez) have several missions here: Save Kira Darvis (Chloe Coleman), get revenge on Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), stop the Red Wizards, and maybe acquire some loot along the way.

The mission will reunite them with an unconfident wizard named Simon Aumar (Justice Smith), a shapeshifting druid named Doric (Sophia Lillis), and a charming paladin named Xenk Yendar (Regé-Jean Page).

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (2023)

As with many other stories of heroes, each character has its unique skillset relevant to the group, and the writers pepper the film with odd hurdles to overcome, including awakening century-long dead people to ask five questions and surviving a chubby dragon in a dungeon.

Not nice, however, that Edgin left one of the awakened dead ones to stay up – asking only four questions.

"Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves"
“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

Now, what do we think

Imagine telling a Nigerian Twitter Influencer: “Just because the statement is symmetrical doesn’t mean it’s not nonsense.” Haha, what would follow is a sequence of tweets that would follow a familiar pattern: broke-shaming or body/face-shaming.

If there’s anything up my sleeve, it’s my arm.

Xenk in “Dungeons and Dragon: Honor Among Thieves”

No offence intended. But that was Edgin telling Xenk to stop saying nonsense. He later tells him he has all the needed qualities for the mission, except conversing with people.

In case you are missing the point, the dialogue in “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” almost parallels what the audience saw in “Game of Thrones”, or “The Originals”. This is why you could draw out quotes from the film and use them as motivation for the rest of 2023.

For instance, Edgin drops the bars: “You can’t just stop failing because when you stop, you have failed.”

Particularly exciting is when Simon says magic cannot solve everything. He reneges on that statement, but he made a point. Also, Doric says: “You humans, you can’t just help but lie.” Where’s the lie?

But it’s not all about the dialogue.

The characterisation is top-notch, with all of the cast clearly chosen to play to their strengths – Pine playing a rough character, Rodriguez beating up men when needed, Page bagging the best lines and much of the action…

"Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves"
Edgin and Xenk in “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

As we see with many suggestively, well-directed films, “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is a swank of fantasy landscapes, from lush treetop villages to outré towns. Besides, that is an amazing costume work that showcases dragon-human hybrids and furry tiger people. There are also fantasy races made from different species of hybrids with scales, fur, or gills.

Spend your money or sit at home?

“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” may not be as epic as “The Lord of the Rings” but there’s nothing wrong with having a funnier instalment of the fantasy adventure genre. 

You’re at the cinema for the mystical creatures (always remember the chubby dragon), the Gothic architecture, the magical enchantments, and we recognise the Normals like us who don’t play the game, but the film is quite enjoyable, so go for it.

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