My Hero Academia: The Two Heroes Review

Originally published on The Fandom Post

What They Say:
The anime smash hit that’s swept the world now makes its debut on the big screen! Our favorite young hero-in-training is in for a wild ride when villains threaten the artificial moving city, I-Island.

Deku and All Might receive an invitation to I-Expo, the world’s leading exhibition of Quirk abilities and hero item innovations! Amid the excitement, sponsors, and pros from all over, Deku meets Melissa, a girl who is Quirkless just like he once was. Suddenly, I-Expo’s top-of-the-line security system gets hacked by villains, and a sinister plan is set in motion. It’s a serious threat to hero society, and one man holds the key to it all—the symbol of peace, All Might.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are certain expectations that come with movies based on Shonen Jump anime. These sort of movies are generally set somewhere different from the main series, feature new characters and villains who we don’t see again outside of the movie, and have various opportunities to show off the main cast’s fighting abilities. The Two Heroes fits all of these criteria exactly, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; this formula is used because it works. The result is usually a movie that’s not quite as good as the main series, but still a really fun time, which is exactly what The Two Heroes ends up being.

The movie gets off to a bit of a slow start-spending most of its first third reintroducing Midoriya and the rest of Class 1-A as they explore I-Island and the various attractions there. While it’s fun seeing the entire cast together (Bakugo is especially entertaining whenever he gets mad), it takes a little too long for the movie to get to its main conflict. Once the villains show up and take over the security system, using all the citizens on the island as hostages against All Might, the story picks up a lot. Midoriya, Melissa, and the rest of Class 1-A decide to take matters into their own hands and disable the security system to free up All Might to fight the villains.

This segment is far more entertaining, as Midoriya’s group works to sneak their way up to the top of the tower to reach the security system while avoiding the villains who’ve taken control. A lot of it plays out like a Hollywood heist film, with Midoriya’s group using their quirks to overcome the various obstacles in the locked-down tower. Everyone is given at least a brief moment to show off a clever application of their quirk, with even Mineta getting a pretty good scene where he uses his sticky orbs to climb the outside of the tower, Mission Impossible-style. Bakugo and Todoroki get the best content here, with both of them getting fights against the villains along the way. The fights aren’t especially tense, but they’re nicely animated and give both a well-deserved chance in the spotlight.

This being a shonen movie, it has a lot riding on its final battle, and I can say with certainty that it won’t disappoint. The fight against the lead villain features All Might, Midoriya, and some of his friends from Class 1-A all working together to take him down and save All Might’s friend, David Shield. It’s everything a My Hero Academia fight should be: excellently animated, flashy, energetic, and all around exciting. Seeing Midoriya and All Might getting a chance to fight side by side (the film is set slightly before season 3 started) is a perfect treat for us fans, and you know you’re in for something good as soon as it starts to play You Say Run. If it’s not quite as good as Midoriya vs. Todoroki or All Might vs. All For One, that’s only because My Hero Academia has set such a high standard with its fights. This fight alone makes the movie worth watching for any fans of the main series.

The two new characters, David Shield and his daughter Melissa Shield, are both placed in more supporting roles, but still fit in quite well with the main cast. Melissa’s lack of a quirk and her dream to be a brilliant scientist like her father draws a lot of clear parallels between her and Midoriya. At the same time, she’s a solid character in her own right. You can’t help but root for her with how earnestly she wants to help people (it’s also great hearing her call All Might “Uncle Might). Dave’s character gives us a lens through witch we can see how ordinary people in MHA would react to All Might’s decline. Dave’s desire to find a way to restore All Might to his peak is understandable, but it also blinds him to one central point: All Might is already working to train the next generation of heroes who will take his place. MHA has always been about passing along the torch from one generation to the next; trying to bring back the past doesn’t work. It’s even easier to sympathize with him after we get to see his flashbacks to what All Might was like in his youth. Seeing him save people from villains while always maintaining his trademark grin is nothing if not inspiring. In comparison, the main villain (who I don’t think is ever even named) is fairly standard fare with not much to make him stand out from other Shonen Jump movie villains.

The Two Heroes doesn’t look significantly better than the TV series, but that’s more of a testament to the series’ quality than a criticism of the film. Ordinary scenes look just fine without really standing out, while the big action scenes are gorgeously animated on par with the series at its best. Funimation’s dub also continues to be one of their best in recent years. Justin Briner is perfectly cast as Midoriya, and it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Christopher Sabat doing All Might justice. The supporting cast, including Dave and Melissa, is solidly cast across the board as well. If you like Funimation’s dub of the series, the movie dub won’t disappoint.

In Summary:
While it’s not quite on the level of the series at its best, The Two Heroes is still an excellent example of its genre. After a somewhat slow start, it stays entertaining, if slightly formulaic, from start to finish, highlighting the characters we’ve come to love and giving them all good action scenes to show off what they can do. Add in a final battle that practically defines the movie, and you have a film that’s sure to please any fans of the series.

Grade: B+

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