After giving X-Men: Apocalypse an 8 out of 10 rating, and watching it again, and regrettably deciding that I should have dropped my rating down to a 6 (let’s say 6.5 since I still really enjoyed it), I let my opinion about Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive stew before I took my pen to paper—or rather fingers to keyboard…?
Potential spoilers ahead.
Kingsglaive is, without a doubt, the most visually impressive CGI movie we have to date. The people at Square Enix always impressed with their careful detailing, textures, and character design which may be arguably the primary selling point to the newer games. The world of Eos in Kingsglaive is a beautiful mix of high fantasy and futuristic elements where both men and monsters are no strangers to being gunned down or set ablaze with magic. Impressive high sky scrapers and airships are often silhouetted against insanely realistic light sources. The characters have a hint of Japanese-Anime design so that it never crosses too far into the uncanny valley, but enough to be fully immersed in this completely computer generated world.
It has to be said that Kingsglaive only acts as a tie-in to the upcoming Final Fantasy XV game. Introductions to the world, locations, and overarching plot line are there, but the uniquely Final Fantasy specific elements are left unsaid. Who cares how these people get their magic from a crystal? They just do. And that’s where there seems to be a loss in translation for those unfamiliar with the series. Kingsglaive is, in fact, a movie that can potentially stand alone, but it is a poor one in that regard.
Kingsglaive at first feels like a sloppy videogame based movie, and to be frank, it kind of is. The voice acting is rough against the animation and it feels disjointed trying to introduce different elements to the movie and ultimately the game. There are scenes of a rebellion that never really get realized and a lot of characters get such little screen time despite being in promotional material. But we have to remember that this is the story of the Kingsglaive— a group of individuals who borrow power from the King (played by Sean Bean) and in return fight in his name—and the fall of the Glaive. So while it does feel rushed, at the very same time, the scope of the story is narrowed to only the Glaive’s task at hand and doesn’t warrant exposition, despite how much we want to know more about each individual Glaive member. We do get a brief insight of the main character Nyx Ulric’s (played by Aaron Paul) backstory, but it was positioned in such an awkward time in the film that it was more humorous (maybe even frustrating) than emotional.
There were other poorly timed or awkward scene progressions, but that was easily drowned out by the intensity of the story. Sure, getting through the plot was rough, but the plot points and themes—betrayal, political stress, lethal mistakes, and a kickass infiltrating an airship sequence—drowned out all those flaws.
Kingsglaive is full of redeeming qualities. Even Lunafreya’s character (played by Lena Headey) seemed so detached and almost unemotional most of the time, but it’s easy to chock that up to her being unafraid of death. Her “why-yes-I-can-stand-and-climb-this-makeshift-ladder-and-jump-across-airships” attitude is even endearing. And let’s not forget her shining “yes-please-wear-this-ring-and-kill-yourself” moment.
The “reveal” (I’m purposefully keeping it vague, but for those who have seen it know what I’m talking about) has quickly ascended my top-X list of plot twists. The entire theater reacted so passionately and positively to it; it really supercharged the momentum of the rest of the movie. And thus, the subsequent scenes after that were just pure high octane, adrenaline filled action very reminiscent of Cloud's and Sephiroth's fight at the end of Advent Children, except Costco-sized.
In the end, Kingsglaive is another case of not a great movie for general audiences but most likely the greatest movie in the history of forever for Final Fantasy fans. From neat Final Fantasy specific elements like monsters and (the spoiler warning still stands) beloved summons to the crazy-cool, envied teleportation power the Glaive has, Kingsglaive has enough great things about it to make you forgive all the questionable things. I’m even more excited to re-watch it after playing the game that comes out November 29th.
I'm also a sucker for product placement. #Audi
I would love to give Kingsglaive a 9/10 but I’ll have to muddy that rating with an unbiased view, so: