Reviewby Richard Eisenbeis,
My Hero Academia THE MOVIE: World Heroes' Mission
When a cult of anti-quirk terrorists destroys a city by releasing a gas that causes people's powers to go wildly out of control, Japan's greatest heroes disperse across the globe in an attempt to find the ringleader and bring him to justice. As part of Endeavor's team, Deku, Bakugo, and Todoroki travel to the European nation of Otheon. But after stopping a robbery gone wrong, Deku finds himself framed for mass murder and on the run with a two-bit criminal—with both Otheon's police force and the terrorists hot on his trail.
The previous two My Hero Academia movies have ranged from good to excellent in quality, telling stories that either expand the lore of the series or put our superpowered teens into situations that cause them to grow as both heroes and people. Unfortunately, World Heroes' Mission does neither of these things, making for a film that's forgettable at best.
Now, that's not to say that there aren't some good ideas in the film. Deku framed for murder and forced to be on the run is a solid plot hook—though one undercut in this instance by the fact that none of the Japanese heroes believe even for a second that he is guilty.
The motive behind the villainous terrorist group is likewise an interesting one. In a world where the vast majority of the population has superpowers, it seems perfectly understandable for people from across the globe to fear that humanity, as it once was, is going extinct—and push back violently. There's even a great bit of nuance in the film as the terrorist group contains not only quirkless humans but super-powered individuals whose powers are so dangerous or uncontrollable that they don't have a place in normal superhuman society. In other words, the terrorist organization is filled with both powered and non-powered people who believe that superpowers are a mistake.
The villains' overall plan is also a step above what you'd expect. A bio-weapon that only affects the super-powered population is a great threat—especially as it is one that can target various cities across the globe at once. But what really stands out is how the villains' plan is centered around exploiting the very nature of what superheroes are in order to achieve their goal of creating a world without them.
Unfortunately, while the ideas behind the terrorist group are above par, the actual villains themselves are not. To quote Martin Billany, “You've never heard of them, and after you've finished fighting them you won't remember it even happened, but for the next 90 minutes you'll think they're the biggest threat you've faced in your entire life!” None of the villains have any real development; they're just around to get beaten up by the heroes. Even the big bad himself, Flect Turn, only gets a few seconds of backstory—and right in the middle of the action climax.
What's more of a letdown is that, with his reflection powers, Flect Turn should be an awesome villain for Deku to fight. As every superpowered punch Deku throws is reflected right back at him, their battle is the perfect place to show Deku's true strength: his analytical mind. However, instead of a creative solution, their battle resolves in the most brain-dead way possible. It's a true disappointment to behold.
The biggest flaw of World Heroes' Mission, however, is the very fact that it is a stand-alone tie-in movie. While there was some minor setup in episode 16 of season 5—showing that the anti-quirk terrorists were gathering the drug “Trigger” to build their bio-weapons—this movie is basically unconnected to the series at large. Because of this, the film can, by definition, have no lasting effect on any of our heroes. None of them can die or be injured in any permanent way, nor can their experience in the film provide any kind of lasting character development, which robs the film of any tension and purpose in the grander scheme of things.
The film tries to counteract this obvious problem with the introduction of new character Rody, an orphan who has turned to crime in order to support his younger brother and sister. As he is original to the film, his fate is up in the air and he can have lasting character development. Unfortunately, while it's nice to focus on someone whose quirk isn't useful in a superhero sense, Rody just isn't that interesting of a character. He's basically just around to be inspired by Deku to turn over a new leaf. And like with Melissa, Mahoro, and Katsuma in the previous movies, it's hard to truly care about Rody as the chances we'll ever see him again in any meaningful role seem low at best.
Without any real tension or character growth for our core cast, you may be wondering if there is any reason to watch this film at all. There is one: the fight scenes.
While the overall art quality is on par with the TV series, the actual animation is leaps and bounds above. The fights are full of particle effects and the camera itself is constantly moving, rotating around our heroes and villains and flying between them. The violence is likewise kicked up a notch, with blood and gaping wounds becoming the norm as the climax draws to a close.
Unfortunately, while the sound effects mesh well with the visuals to elevate the already impressive fights, the music side of things doesn't quite manage to keep up. The soundtrack is forgettable at best—well, if you ignore the insert song that comes in the middle of the movie which doesn't seem to fit the tone of the film at all. It honestly feels like a random pop song just thrown into the film for marketing purposes.
All in all, World Heroes' Mission is a forgettable film. While it has some good plot hooks, none are really explored in detail and feel wasted on a story with no lasting consequences. The villains are woefully underdeveloped and, due to the side-story nature of the film, there is little in the way of tension throughout. If you're looking for a captivating plot or any kind of character growth for our young heroes, you won't find it here. However, if all you want from a My Hero Academia film is to watch Deku, Bakugo, and Todoroki beat the ever-loving crap out of some supervillains, then you'll probably have a fun enough time.
Overall : C+
Story : C-
Animation : A
Art : B
Music : C
+ Visually stunning fight scenes, solid plot hook
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