The students of Class 1-A have managed to earn their provisional licenses and are on their way to becoming full-fledged heroes. As an assignment, they are tasked to do real hero work on their own without any supervision on Nabu Island, a beautiful and peaceful place with a population of roughly 1,000. Things are going well for the young heroes until an unexpected group of powerful villains arrives and starts causing chaos and destruction. It’s up to Deku and the others to stop these villains before they can complete their mission and wipe out everyone on the island.
My Hero Academia is a franchise that has swept the world by storm with its heartfelt stories, its valuable lessons about life, friendship, and doing your best, all while having a compelling story about a diverse group of characters dealing with having immense super abilities. Naturally, I am a fan, but I want to make sure that I am not biased, so to remain neutral, I am going to do my best to give a fair review of the movie without overly praising it just because I love the franchise.
Getting right to the point, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (2018) was better overall. And it really comes down to one thing- story. Both MHA films (Two Heroes and Heroes Rising) are incredible to look at with beautiful animations and superb voice-acting performances (though I must admit I favor English dubs specifically for MHA- sue me), and all the action you could want. The issue with Heroes Rising, in particular, is that there is not really much of a story here to go along with it. There is a villain with an agenda and we are intended not to know much about him or the bigger picture as there are teases and hints throughout at something that likely will impact the episodic side of the series (though the films are canon), but that ends up hindering the story significantly.
In MHA: Heroes Rising, we see some amazing fight sequences between the 1-A students and the villains, but very little story beyond the initial introduction that they are doing hero work on Nabu. Once you get past that, it jumps right into some seriously lengthy fights that sort of drag on a little too long. Usually, this wouldn’t be an issue, but since MHA is so rich in story and lore (as opposed to Dragon Ball, which has story and lore, yes, but is more so all about excessively long fight sequences and even more excessive filler material), that it ends up feeling kind of boring at times.
Even with the focus on action over story, which is not my personal preference, I would like to note that the action itself sort of has a story of its own, in that we see a lot of new tricks, techniques, and a variety of abilities from Class 1-A to signify and show their growth and development as heroes. Not to spoil anything, but it is nice to see some characters using not only their signature moves from the series but new abilities as well. It makes for a nice variety and an interesting bag of tricks, as it were, when taking on the villains of the movie. We learn a lot about the characters through their honing of their skills and mastery of techniques, which I appreciated a lot but again, it does little to add to the overall plot which is slowed down significantly by long-drawn-out fight sequences.
One thing that Heroes Rising did very well, was giving the spotlight to every single member of Class 1-A. Usually, the focus is on Deku, Bakugo, or Todoroki with the other classmates getting a few moments here and there, or perhaps even together as a group shot, but each and every student hero from Class 1-A had a moment or two where it was just them doing something significant. No character was left behind and they all played an important part in the film to some degree, each having an opportunity to show off a new move or technique that once again highlights their growth and progress as up-and-coming heroes.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie, but without giving anything away, there were some things I would certainly change or liked to have seen that would have made certain scenes make a little more sense. I really can’t say more than that, but I have a hunch you will get the same feeling when you see the movie for yourself when it hits theaters on February 26th.
My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising comes to select theaters (subbed and dubbed) on February 26th. Get tickets here.