Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Certificate: 12A

Starring: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis

Release date: 2023

4 out of 5


Because it happens so rarely, it’s cause for celebration when an action-effects blockbuster comes along that has a sense of humour about itself and features characters who have plenty of heart and soul. So while previous adaptations of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons have been less than engaging, the happy news is that writer-directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Spider-Man: Homecoming) were clearly the right ones for the job. Without ever being smug, the film has a brisk, self-referential tone that’s packed with genuinely amusing gags.

The story centres on Edgin (Pine), who escapes from prison with his sidekick Holga (Rodriguez) and heads off to find his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman). But she’s been kidnapped by his old cohort Forge (Grant), who now rules a citadel in league with wizard Sofina (Daisy Head), who has her own nefarious plan. So Edgin and Holga team up with their old pal Simon (Smith), still a rather inept sorcerer, and shapeshifting druid Doric (Lillis). Along the way, they need to visit the Underdark accompanied by the irony-free paladin Xenk (Page), find a relic and take on a chubby dragon.

This magical quest-within-a-quest plot spirals riotously out of control very quickly, as our heroes encounter various colourful characters (including a surprising A-list cameo) who present various detours. Along the way, the exuberant set-pieces take place in brightly colourful settings with eye-catching effects work and a rip-roaring pace, all of which keeps the audience laughing and gasping.

What makes the film so memorable is the warmth under the snappy surface. It may echo Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, but this is much more along the lines of The Princess Bride, with characters who are hugely likeable rogues, goofy comedy moments and a lovely sense of camaraderie that holds this assembled family together.

Is Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

There’s rather a lot of violence along the way, although it’s generally limited to fantastical characters or faceless goons. And the story takes some genuinely distressing turns, including a proper sense of hopelessness. But the comical tone reassures us that it won’t get too nasty.

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