On reflection, reviewing My Hero Academia was a bit presumptuous on my part. Ongoing series aren’t a good fit for my format of reviews and certainly not when the series could still go in countless directions and I am not planning on dropping it. I am still keeping up with the show now and just got around to watching the franchise’s first-ever movie release: Two Heroes. Sadly, this first venture into animated films could have been handled better.
Two Heroes takes Midoriya and All Might on vacation to I-Island, a drifting city dedicated to scientific research into tools, gadgets, and suits to be used by heroes across the world. As the island prepares for a big festival, All Might reunites with a childhood friend turned genius inventor and reminisces about their past adventures, while Midoriya is given the time to explore the island with the man’s daughter, the young science protegé Melissa.
Melissa gets a lot of attention throughout and ends up playing a more vital role than even series’ mainstays like Bakugo or even All Might himself. She is an ambitious and intelligent girl who hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and is already designing helpful gadgets and getting top grades. While she is a likable character, her personality and design are very muted compared to the rest of the eccentric cast, and her role as inventor puts her into competition with existing side-character Mei Hatsume.
She is not without her strengths and she does have some good scenes with Midoriya, but I am not sure what she adds to the world of Hero Academia. She feels like a very safe inclusion, a friendly, cute girl nobody would take issue with, but who can easily be discarded after the movie and will probably never make an appearance again. In that sense, her character is emblematic of the movie as a whole.
The early part of the movie is mostly concerned with everybody befriending Melissa and getting some time to display their powers and play around at the festival. These scenes are neat fan-service, but also come alongside flashbacks to All Might and Melissa’s dad, as well as a completely unnecessary recap of the franchise’s basic plot points. It even recaps Midoriya’s backstory, which would have been fine if this was an entry-level movie instead of a tie-in to season 3. The first 1/3th of the movie is fun, but also slow and uneventful.
Things do liven up as the island is attacked by villains who also turn the institute’s top tier defense systems against the inhabitants. All the professional heroes are quickly captured, leaving it to the kids and Melissa to reboot the security systems and rescue her father, who the villains abduct as part of their plot. What follows is an exciting race up a 200-floor tower where the young heroes get to battle with henchmen and bypass the various security systems using their quirks and wits. Barring some glaringly ugly CG, everything happening after the villains initiate their plan was at least exciting to watch.
However, for a series all about characters surpassing themselves and giving it their all, Two Heroes seems awfully content with its own mediocrity. The action scenes never reach the level of hype that the TV series has managed and the plot surrounding the island takeover and All Might’s scientist friend is awfully predictable. Most glaringly of all is the roster of D-tier villains and their C-tier leader; characters who are so boringly designed and generically written it’s almost insulting to see them get the same screentime as major bad guys of past story arcs.
I don’t feel like my time was wasted, nor do I feel that Two Heroes is a terrible movie. It plays its cards safe and doesn’t attempt to leave a lasting impact. It gives fans of the series some decent action scenes and that can help keep you hyped if you’re waiting for season 4 to wrap up. However, a casual fan or somebody just getting into the series can skip it without worrying about missing out on anything remotely relevant.