Shonen Jump movies typically have difficulty balancing between being a side story, as to not affect the main story line, and being a compelling story in line with the rest of the series. On top of that, it must also be easy to understand for people who are not familiar with the series through introductory flashbacks to each character to inform the audience of who they are. If a no-stakes story with eye-catching visuals and smooth animation is to your liking, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is exactly the movie to see.
For everyone who grew up in the era of Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, audiences have been starving for the next big shonen anime. My Hero Academia fills in the void left by the end of the former two, yet parts of the film highlight how the genre remains stagnant due to the all-too-familiar tropes. There simply are no real stakes in the movie, as the entire main crew of students and All Might make their way to an island as a metaphor for a self-contained story. Nothing that happens onscreen is meant to provide story or character analysis, but instead, gives audiences an entertaining mashup of the heroes working together.
Although the film lays the groundwork for an interesting plot mixed in with the flare of All Might-like energy, the pacing gets muddled and stutters as it approaches the climax. However, a major highlight that differentiates the movie from a typical filler episode is the insight into All Might’s youth. He’s whimsically spry as he and his friend, David Shield, move through the opening scene where they both fight off some never-before-seen heroes and villains. Since the main series focuses more on his days as a teacher, these scenes are a reintroduction into All Might’s past. After an amusing buddy-cop chase sequence, All Might’s heroism sparks a flame within David, one that lasts and leads to the events that take place in the film.
Fast forward to present day (which is right after Season 2), and Deku and All Might are heading to I-Island, a man-made paradise where heroes can freely use their Quirks without fear of harm. Beautifully designed background characters appear in every scene, which is a shame, knowing that they’ll probably never show up again. But, things are perfect on I-Island until a group of shadowy villains take the island and All Might hostage. Their goal is simple: retrieve something of value from the island that requires all systems to be shut down to get it. Most of the film is comprised of amusing quips, one-liners, and interaction with the main group of characters while the others hang out in their hotel rooms in a cameo.
In an unsurprising turn of event, All Might and Deku take up the last 15 minutes of the film simply trying to punch their way through the main villain. It’s disappointing that Melissa, David’s daughter, doesn’t get to play a larger role. In a story full of superheroes, all that she got is to play cheerleader and support everyone else.
For the final verdict, the movie was a visual delight, but doesn’t leave room for the viewer’s imagination. There are chuckles here and there, but the movie isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. Laugh at the characters’ banter and stay for the eye-candy. Catch My Hero Academia: Two Heroes during its five-day run from 9/25–10/2 while you still can. If not, it will be out on DVD sometime later this year or early next year.