Synopsis: The anime smash hit that’s swept the world now makes its debut on the big screen! Our favourite 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.
A film, especially one with a theatrical release (more details below), showcases the series to a new audience. One that may not be aware of it at all or has simply heard of it but not looked into it further than that. It’s an opportunity to bring those people into the fold and turn them into fans. So, setting this film after the end of the latest season (Season 3) left them with a tricky balancing act between keeping the film accessible to newcomers but without boring long-standing fans with long explanations for things they already know. I’m pleased to say that My Hero Academia: Two Heroes manages to do this expertly. As well as establishing the world – where 80% of the population have “quirks” (superpowers) – the main characters and the setting; the other students (& friends) of Deku, who attend UA High School with him, are introduced in an excellent sequence of events that show off their quirks – both of personality and of the superpower variety.
The trials & tribulations of Deku and his fellow classmates at UA are absolutely captivating. In the series we’ve learned a lot about the motivations behind why they want to become Pro-Heroes. What drives each of them is interesting and well realised through the storytelling across the 63 episodes so far; so much so that I have found waiting for the next season almost painful at times. There isn’t time to go into that sort of depth in a single film, thus it focuses primarily on Deku & Melissa; drawing a parallel between their similarities while gently highlighting their differences. Deku aspires to be like his idol and mentor All Might while Melissa wants to emulate her father in becoming a scientist capable of supporting the heroes by making support items for them. So, when they find themselves caught up in a Villainous scheme, with their friends, that leaves the Pro’s on the island trapped; it should come as no surprise that they opt to step up and help to the best of their ability rather than run & hide. After all, that’s the mark of a true hero – helping people in need no matter the danger to themselves – it’s what they are training for at UA. It’s what each of them is aspiring to for a myriad of reasons.
The villains, whose motivations are unclear throughout the majority of the film play second fiddle to our young heroes of the future. They play their role well, their actions and plan are logical so I’ve no complaints there. As is often the case, there’s only a handful that are elevated above the typical “cannon fodder goon” level and only the leader gets a significant amount of screen-time to make an impact; which he does manage to do. It’s often the case that the bad-guy comes off second best, lord knows people have said that about the MCU films for long enough but it isn’t a detriment to the film in this case. Dedicating the time to the heroes-in-training from UA High School’s Class 1A was the correct decision.
Animation studio Bones Inc. have done an incredible job with this project. It’s colourful & vibrant with outstanding action sequences; the uniqueness of the various quirks is well represented in a way that really gives you a good sense of the power on display; I really felt some of the blows dished out. There weren’t any issues that took me out of the experience, in all honesty I didn’t actually notice any at all which is what you’d expect from an experienced animation studio like this one. The Soundtrack is used intelligently, matching the tempo of the scenes as the film progresses. This reflects how well the film quietly sets the board in the first half before picking up the pace with an action focused second half. Doing so in a way that feels natural and builds excitement as it continues towards its eventual conclusion. The voice actors do an outstanding job of bringing their roles to life and conveying the emotion and intent of the characters.
My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is a fantastically apt title for a brilliant film. I found myself smiling throughout the film as I enjoyed it immensely. I think you will to, so I can heartily recommend that you get yourself to your nearest screening using the info at the link below.
My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is showing at select Cinemas in the UK & Ireland on the 4th & 5th of December (English Subtitles & English Dub Screenings are both available) Please go to https://myheroacademiamovie.co.uk for screening & ticket booking details!
(Version Reviewed: English Dub. Our thanks go to Manga Entertainment UK for enabling this review.)