• Great balance of action and comedy
  • Great chemistry
  • Solid character development
  • Accessible to non-DnD players
  • Generic villains
  • Not entirely groundbreaking in the action-comedy canon

A surprise hit of the year (so far), “Dungeons & Dragons” is a terrific blockbuster to end the first quarter of 2023.


A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves brings the rich world and playful spirit of the legendary roleplaying game to the big screen in a hilarious and action-packed adventure.

For someone that doesn’t know what “rolling a natural 20” means or doesn’t know much about druids or paladins, the last thing I would expect to come across my radar (or interest) is something related to the game “Dungeons & Dragons”. Lo and behold, in walks “Game Night” directors’ Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley’s newest film “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”. And spoiler alert, the film is actually pretty good. “Honor Among Thieves” begins with good natured spy-turned-thief Edgin Davis (Chris Pine) telling the story of how he and his friend, warrior Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez), ended up imprisoned (note: he is telling this story to a group of characters that will decide his fate of staying imprisoned or being set free). Long story short, a planned heist went wrong, Edgin was separated from his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman), his former colleague, conman Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant) has now taken in his daughter as his own. Now, after a hilarious escape sequence, he has to reunite with his daughter as well as reclaim an artifact that will resurrect his dearly departed wife. Along the way, him and Holga enlist Simon (Justice Smith), a terrible sorcerer and Doric, a shape-shifting druid (Sophia Lillis) to assist them in their quest.

When making a film about such a beloved game that has a large niche audience at its core, casting is the most essential factor to consider. And, man, does this film get aces in that regard. Starting off the top, this is the charismatic, relatable and depth-adjacent role Chris Pine was born for. Equally balancing comedy with pathos in a convincing relatable mix, Pine commands the role effortlessly. Edgin is a great protagonist not just because of his relatability but also because of the surprising depth his character carries. The backstory behind the loss of his wife and how it shaped him as a grieving father leaves way for great character development. There’s also the terrific chemistry Pine shares with Rodriguez who is great as Holga, a badass warrior with an emphatic heart of gold…and an affinity for short men (leading to a hilarious cameo from an A-List actor). The comedic timing of this pairing is second-to-none and is perfectly complemented (and mirrored) by the addition of Justice Smith and Sophia Lillis. Smith has a great, self-deprecating feel to his character that leaves room for dynamic changes. Lillis plays a great “straight woman” that has great deadpan responses to the hilarity that occurs along the journey of reclaiming the resurrection artifact. There’s also Regé-Jean Page who is hilarious as Xenk Yendar, a self-serious holy knight that is alien to things such as sarcasm. Hugh Grant does smarminess well as the slimy Fitzwilliam and Daisy Head does solid work as Sofina, an acquaintance of Fitzwilliam that has (obvious) sinister plans at hand.

The film balances its comedy well with its action. Rodriguez, being known as one of action films’ most revered queens, has great moments of kicking behinds and taking names. Pine and the rest of the gang join in on the fun and create great moments as well. One sequence of note is a chase scene with Lillis’ Doric where she shape-shifts while trying to elude Red Wizards (the villains of the film), running through buildings, around horses and crowds, creating a fun, awesome experience. It’s no wonder that directors Goldstein and Francis Daley mix genres so well since their last film “Game Night” was a nice balance of comedy and thriller. Creating a film like this with such a niche Intellectual Property and making it accessible to a DnD rookie like me is a great feat.

Closing Thoughts
“Dungeons & Dragons” is a fun action ride. Separating itself from the 2000 New Line Cinema failure, directors Goldstein and Francis Daley have laid for the foundation for what could be a new, great franchise. It may not be the best action-comedy I’ve ever seen but it’s definitely one of the most enjoyable. With Pine leading the pack of actors, this could be the great win “Pine” needs on his journey to be crowned the best “Chris” in contrast to Evans and Hemsworth (kidding). Great cast, great chemistry and great action – what else could you ask for from a potential Easter blockbuster?



Blak Cinephile
Blak Cinephile is a cinephile who both loves film and loves to write/talk about it. He has a genuine respect for the art of cinema and has always strived to find the line between insightful subjectivity and observant objectivity while constructing his reviews. He believes a deeper understanding (and a deeper love) of cinema is borne through criticism.

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