A fun-filled break from school for class 1A that offers some exciting developments without ever fully committing to shaking up the status quo.
British TV of a certain era has a rich history of taking their characters on a summer holiday to squeeze out some extra cash. The problem is that it never usually goes particularly well. We end up with a movie that betrays all of the work done by the TV show, which usually results in a painful, peeling sunburn rather than a lusciously golden tan. The big question is whether Anime favorite My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising can make it work where Kevin and Perry Go Large failed so dismally.
The good news is that Deku (Justin Briner), Bakugo (Clifford Chapin) and the gang’s summer holiday is a welcome trip to the beach where we get action, drama and some moments of genuine emotion. If you’ve never heard of My Hero Academia then I’ll give you a quick recap but be warned this movie might not be the place to start. Treat yourself and enjoy the series to date before diving in here.
My Hero Academia is about a world where superpowers (or quirks) are commonplace with around 80% of the population having some sort of special ability. This can range from your standard super speed, super strength or shooting fire from your hands right through to being able to shoot sticky tape from your elbows or the ability to grow sticky purple balls on your head. Superhero schools exist to help children harness their powers and become a force for good. The series focuses on UA High, a prestigious school with a strong reputation and one particular pupil, Deku, who was born without a quirk and manages to get one anyway. Basically we’re looking at Harry Potter with superpowers.
The movie, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, picks up where Season 3 left off with the students taking a well-earned summer break. Instead of relaxing they’re called into action to act as a makeshift hero force on Nabu island after the current hero retired. This should be a fairly sedate assignment as the island hasn’t had any major crime for over 30 years. That is until a supervillain, Nine (Johnny Yung Bosch), shows up with connections to the League of Villains and an ominously familiar power.
This is essentially an extended episode of the series, but it does take some bold choices with the characters. Sure, not everything that happens sticks and the writers manage to find a way to Ctrl+Z some of the really significant changes but it felt organic rather than a cop-out. The extra time with the students of class 1A on an extended assignment really gave us a look underneath the surface. I really enjoyed the film and if anything it has deepened my appreciation of the characters.
My Hero Academia has an extensive roster of characters and somehow the story manages to give most of them a chance to shine. Even some of the more B-string players are involved in the climactic scenes, with their powers used in inventive ways.
It’s not just character development on show here, the film takes the action that we’re used to from the series and ramps it up to big-screen proportions. The ‘final’ battle lasts for well over half an hour, and it never runs out of steam. It pushes the boundaries of the characters and lets us see what they can really do when let off the leash.
I had a great time with My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising. It adds to the mythos of the show without ever feeling like a cheap cash-in. While some of the characters might get less screen time than I’d like, everyone gets a chance to shine and the film offers deeper insight into the key players. It’s more than just a chance to take the characters for a trip to the beach — instead, it feels like an essential entry into the story and one that might have far-reaching implications for how things shake out.
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