Friday, February 28, 2020

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

Release date: February 26, 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Starring: Felecia Angelle, Christopher Bevins, Johnny Yong Bosch

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is a new side story movie in the MHA series.  It appears to be set after the events of the current season, as all the young heroes have their provisional licenses and Deku uses a skill that he has just learned on the TV show.  In the movie, class 1A gets sent to Nabu Island, a small island with no heroes.  The class is sent to help the townspeople out during the school's summer break.  However, after they arrive, something happens that will put the young heroes to the ultimate test.

If you are a fan of MHA, then you will know what to expect from this film.  Starting with the animation, it has the same look and feel of the TV show, for better or for worse.  I personally love the look of the TV series, but was hoping for some more detailed or refined animation due to the fact that this is going to cinemas.  There wasn't anything wrong with it, and the island provides some very beautiful views, but initially it just felt like I was watching the TV show on a larger screen.  However, when the action started picking up towards the second half, there were some really nice animated effects.  Fires, lightning, rain, and other combat effects did look more impressive than in the television series and were enjoyable to see.  It is just a shame that it took so long to get there, but it does lead to an impressive finale.   

As with the animation, the story feels very much like it would be from the TV series.  It starts off normal enough and the first third to half is mostly tame summer antics.  It isn't until the actual fighting happens that you get something more exciting.  It is fun to see the heroes interacting on the island, but nothing really stands out from the island antics.  And sticking with this theme, the sounds are what you would expect from MHA but with some added effects--not a bad thing, just would have been nice to have something stand out.  There is a pretty stellar musical choice during the final fight; again I go back to the final fight being the highlight of this movie.  

The major critique I have with this film is that the story really feels like it could have been an arc of the TV series rather than being a standalone movie.  The effects do go plus ultra during the last third, but the first part of the story really doesn't feel much different than the show.  And although the ending is exciting, there are reasons why it ultimately feels unfulfilling, both for some of the choices that are made and the fact that it still leaves you with questions.  If you are a fan of this franchise, you are going to watch this anyways.  I ultimately feel like it is more of a rental and is not as good as the first MHA movie, but fans of the series (myself included) will find plenty to like here.    

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising goes plus ultra, with a fun and exciting side story, great battle animations and effects, and the same characters and quirks we know and love from the series. 

Rent it.

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