With my review updated to reflect the current state of My Hero Academia as per its fourth season, I figured it’d be a good idea to also check out the franchise’s second movie. I was fairly disappointed with Two Heroes, but Heroes Rising sought to take a very different direction.
Not that it helps much, but at least they tried.
The premise of Heroes Rising is that the students of U.A. Class 1-A are doing an extra training course where they get to operate a hero agency on a remote island, filled with idyllic countrysides and a vacation resort. The lone hero protecting the area has retired, so the heroes-in-training fill in for him until a professional replacement is found.
Naturally, their work is incredibly laid back. They help the locals with little chores and work as lifeguards on the beach, so it’s more of a vacation for them as well. This quiet peace is then shattered when a group of villains comes to the island with their eyes set on a young boy with a powerful quirk. The island is turned into a warzone as the students desperately try to muster a defense against this invasion.
The action is certainly more explosive and the villains more convincing than those of Two Heroes, but that also makes it feel contrived. The main bad guy is yet another dude who steals quirks and his lackeys are so overwhelmingly powerful that it seems strange they’ve never been mentioned before. These are characters that easily outclass some major antagonists of prior arcs. Similarly, it’s yet another story about Deku and his pals having to scramble all their resources to protect a little kid; the Shimano siblings in this movie are definitely not on the same tier as Eri from season 4 or even Kota.
Still, overpowered villains do lend themselves to some good spectacle and Heroes Rising scores points for focusing on the entirety of class 1-A. All the characters get things to do throughout the movie’s 3 major segments, such as Tentacole using his wide body to protect people from deadly projectiles. He’s such a minor side-character, but I am betting his scenes here will earn him some more love from the fanbase. The third segment of the movie is the most exciting, as the U.A. kids come with a prepared plan to catch the villains off-guard that utilizes everyone’s abilities in clever ways. Certainly impressive after seeing them get so easily overwhelmed earlier.
However, I feel that the movie takes it a bit too far when it comes to the final battle, which comes with mind-blowing plot twists that would alter the story of the series entirely. It’s a bold move and would be unprecedented, which is why Heroes Rising immediately backpedals on it afterwards, with “a miracle” being the only excuse it has to offer. The entire final segment doesn’t feel like My Hero Academia and isn’t even that thrilling to watch, making it even more of a slap in the face that what impact it has on the overall story is casually dismissed.
As with Two Heroes, there is really no reason to watch Heroes Rising if you’re just a casual fan looking to keep up with the ongoing storyline. There’s some neat scenes for die-hard fans in there, but also some irksome stuff that rubbed me up the wrong way. It can juice you up if you want to get back into the series after a long wait, but I’d sooner recommend rewatching some cool fight scenes from older seasons to get a similar effect.