Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a fun, kindhearted, often hilarious adventure film that doubles as an irreverent comedy.
We review the 2023 film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which does not contain spoilers.
I never played the game of Dungeons & Dragons at any point in my life. Not that I am against it, far from it. Do you when it comes to how you spend your hard-earned free time. So, having no reference to draw on besides a handful of plot lines from The Big Bang Theory, Joe Manganiello’s infatuation with the game, and one great episode of Community called “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons”, I went in pretty much a blank slate.
To my surprise, I walked in a novice, but I walked out having the most fun at the movies this year.
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Well, that’s until I watched John Wick: Chapter 4 a few hours later. But don’t hold that against Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Review and Plot Summary
The story follows Edgin Darvis (a hilarious Chris Pine), a Harper with a knack for storytelling and the world by the brass balls. He is a new father and is in love with his wife.
His job takes him on several campaigns. That includes searching and capturing a band of Red Wizards. Unfortunately, these dark magic makers hold a grudge, attacking Edgin’s home, then killing the love of his life.
Fortunately, his daughter was hidden in a secret compartment within the walls of their home. Speed ahead years later, Edgin raises Kira (My Spy’s Chloe Coleman) after he swore off his job. He is now making a living by handpicking a band of thieves to earn a living.
That includes an exiled fetching barbarian, Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), of the Uthgardt Elk Tribe, who likes carbs and pocket-sized men. Then you have Simon (Justice Smith), a magic sorcerer and descendant of a noble wizard with little confidence in his abilities.
He is in love with Doric (It’s Sophia Lillis), a member of the Emerald Enclave, who has organized an uprising against the Lord of Neverwinter, who is looking to strip the enclave of its natural beauty and resources.
The group’s elder statesman, Forge (another delightfully droll turn by Hugh Grant), is a con artist on Edgin’s team. Unfortunately, the group is frozen in time, trying to find a lost artifact to bring back Edgin’s wife.
Written and directed by Jonathan Goldstein (Vacation) and John Francis Daley (Freak & Geeks), Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a hilarious breath of fresh air. Their script is an unscrupulous and mischievous affair, having the characters be unabashedly themselves and unashamed of their behaviors.
The film is also exceptionally skilled at supporting Chris Pines’s talent for what feels like the 80s and 90s comedy roles that Carey Elwes once called home. The magnetic Pine is delightfully deadpan, even droll, and has a knack for comic timing most didn’t know he had without a lute in his hand.
Entertainments like Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, and The Lord of the Rings have made it cool again to let your geek flag fly of late. And that’s where Goldstein and Daley find that sweet spot by not changing a damn thing.
From what I’m told, the game is about people playing it. They don’t try to make the movie into something it’s not, like turning a remake of Pinocchio into a sociopath. (I do call dibs on that idea, by the way). They capture the spirit of the Dungeons & Dragons game because it’s a creative world without boundaries.
This ideology allows them to create a fun, kindhearted, often hilarious adventure film that doubles as an irreverent comedy. It is also evident how they don’t force family-friendly themes and fold them in naturally—for example, finding that sweet spot with a lovely moment about the bond between mothers and daughters.
I must admit, I never expected the scene to be as lump-in-your-throat touching as it was.
Is Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves good?
It’s obvious, but Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves excels as a comedy rather than any grand quest adventure movie. However, on the shoulders of Pine, the movie works harmoniously as a masquerading fantasy film where you don’t have to dig too deep into the mythology of the game and offers some low-rent escapism.
What you have is a film made by players for players by capturing the spirit of the game’s endless creativity and role-playing collaboration by creating something sensible to their comic styles.
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