Review: Chris Pine leads a team of ragtag thieves on a journey throughout an expansive world. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a movie that contains a mighty cast and includes many moving parts – all of which excel in harmony.
My knowledge on tabletop Dungeons and Dragons was limited going into the game’s landmark new movie. I had some secondhand experience from friends and past coworkers that served as a base level understanding of the core functions of the game, but I still felt at arm’s length with the property and what the possibilities for a feature film could be. But word travels fast in movie circles, and before I knew it, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves became one of the big hits early in 2023.
It’s not difficult to see how a film like Dungeons and Dragons could become a ruckus hit if championed by the right situation of filmmakers and crew. The story borrows heavily from the cards-and-dice counterpart, as well as fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Y’know, the franchise heavy hitters that all other movies and television shows try to amount to? It may feel a bit overzealous to already compare Dungeons and Dragons to franchises like this, but it’s at least in the same ballpark considering how much juice they were able to squeeze out of the original IP when creating Honor Among Thieves.
The project was largely spearheaded by the directing team of John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, while also including writing credits by Michael Gilio and Chris McKay (a major step up from McKay’s recent directorial effort Renfield – a chaotic few months for the guy). While at times it can feel like there may be too many cooks in the kitchen on this script, but it’s arguably what makes Dungeons and Dragons shine as a relevant adaption of the game. Tabletop Dungeons and Dragons is written by those taking part in the series of events, and much like what happens when an idea quickly goes off the rails, Honor Among Thieves successfully captures much of the same energy.
In this campaign, Chris Pine plays the grifting thief Edgin Darvis, who builds a group of comrades to help win back his daughter and expel the unruly, two-timing Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant) from power. Again, much like the game, the story veers off the path rather quickly and turns into a series of side quests in order to build up the repertoire of abilities needed to accomplish the task. A star-studded cast of Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Regé-Jean Page helps elevate the film to even higher heights than what I imagined was possible.
Reviews for Movies like Dungeons and Dragons
And perhaps that’s my favorite piece of Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. I’ve had relatively low standards for many of the cast members prior to seeing this movie. Justice Smith’s characters have always felt like weak links to their projects, whether it be his horrendously written Franklin Webb in the Jurassic World franchise (a real low point for movie making) or feeling out of place in the steamy Sydney Sweeney erotic thriller The Voyeurs. It’s been hard to buy into an actor that’s struggled to make something out of nothing in his short career.
The same could be said for Regé-Jean Page, who broke out after the Bridgerton craze swept Netflix. Since then, it’s been a real series of misses for the English actor as he’s tried to build upon the mysterious entity that he played in that series. But much like Justice Smith, it’s taken him until now to find a role that feels natural to him. Michelle Rodriguez and Sophia Lillis splinter from their franchises and give two career-best performances (Fast and Furious and It, respectively).
I didn’t expect to spend that much time on performers that I generally haven’t cared for in the past, but they all bring it to a script loaded with whimsical storytelling, fulfilling action, and worlds I want to spend more time in. Although these worlds and their inhabitants rely heavily on the works of CGI and artificial images, it never sucked me out of enjoying these characters and their surroundings. There’s a sequence where the crew has to obtain a helmet by traveling to the depths of a volcanic cave (in classic Dungeons and Dragons fashion) and it goes in so heavy on computer-generated monsters and blade fights. But at the same time, it’s exhilarating! It’s not worried about setting up characters down the line or building an ever-evolving world that’ll take movies and movies to fully realize (ahem), but it instead builds fully digestible sets and timeframes. You always know where you are in the universe and what the stakes are.
And maybe these stakes aren’t the highest that you’ll see in a movie this year, but it’s easy to push past that. The movie develops a cheerful and unassuming tone from the beginning, so it isn’t like you’re expecting to see riveting deaths by half the cast when the credits roll. You’re there for the amusing action and colorful characters, and in those regards, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves easily passes the test and offers one of the more exciting, new adventure blockbusters of 2023 thus far.
Where to watch Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, VOD
Film Cast and Credits
Chris Pine as Edgin
Michelle Rodriguez as Holga
Justice Smith as Simon
Sophia Lillis as Doric
Hugh Grant as Forge
Regé-Jean Page as Xenk
Chloe Coleman as Kira
Daisy Head as Sofina
Bradley Cooper as Marlamin
Cinematography: Barry Peterson
Editor: Dan Lebental
Composer: Lorne Balfe
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves on Letterboxd
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves on IMDb