REVIEW: My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Is a Wild Ride

My first exposure to My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission was reading the three-sentence elevator pitch. World-ending stakes? Check. Race against the clock? Check. Deku’s on the run for murder? Wait, what?

It turns out that pitch was more accurate than I initially knew: exciting stakes and action, quick timing, and occasional did-I-read-that-correctly tonal whiplash are the bedrock upon which World Heroes’ Mission is built. Strap in: it’s a wild ride.

World Heroes’ Mission begins with a simple premise: a terrorist organization called Humarise believes that, for the salvation of humanity, quirks – this world’s superpowers – must be wiped out, and they have the tools to do it. The opening scene is a body horror laden attack that wipes most of the population of a city off the map and puts Humarise’s money where their mouth is, and now it’s up to a global coalition of heroes to find the rest of the bombs before they can be detonated and stop Humarise in its tracks. Of course, things get a little complicated when Humarise secretly has high-ranking public officials among its members, which is how protagonist Deku winds up falsely accused of twelve murders and on the run with jewel thief and movie-original character Rody and his bird companion Pino. The rest of the film is equally devoted to a heartwarming road trip away from the (admittedly corrupted) law, figuring out what Humarise is really planning, and a race against the clock as Humarise sets a two-hour countdown to a global detonation of the quirk-erasing bombs.

The movie does have its issues, namely in the aforementioned tonal dissonance. There are a number of visual aspects that are just odd, including a brand-new movie-only hero (I like Salaam, but his art style is a distraction at best); several dramatic scenes, including parts of the climactic battle, lean a bit too far into the curve and become funny instead; and the movie loses track of its race against the clock a bit – the last few minutes contain shades of Dragonball Z’s infamous “this planet will explode in five minutes” gambit, though not nearly that drawn out. While it still retains that high My Hero Academia level of quality, World Heroes’ Mission isn’t quite as tightly assembled as previous movie entries in the franchise.

That said, when the movie is firing on all cylinders – which is most of the time – it is an absolute delight. The animation is top-tier, as is expected of Studio BONES – the action absolutely pops off the screen, whether the scene is parkour or a superpowered fight. The story is entertaining and compassionate, masterfully balancing character moments and high-octane action scenes. The movie original characters in particular are fleshed out and well executed. Ryan Colt Levy breathes life into Rody Soul, a relatively normal guy who’s just doing his best to take care of his family despite life’s insistence on kicking him in the face, when he gets caught up in the plot’s high-stakes hijinks and has to decide whether he wants to lay low or do the right thing. The character provides an outlook on My Hero Academia’s world that we don’t often see: someone on the outside of hero society, not trying to break in or be a villain, but just trying to live their life, and Ryan Colt Levy’s portrayal is just the right balance of serious and smartass to make Rody all the more relatable. By contrast, main villain Flect Turn, voiced by Robbie Daymond,  is a murderous madman fully convinced that he is in the right – which is to say, he’s a fairly accurate portrayal of a cult leader. In the grand tradition of all My Hero Academia movie villains, he’s here to fight Deku and chew scenery, and there’s plenty of both to go around. Daymond’s performance only elevates Turn’s presence; after all, nobody can deliver a deliciously outraged ‘how dare you’ quite like Robbie Daymond on a villainous tear. As always, Funimation turns in a tightly-written and well-performed dub; that said, I’d argue that the dub is well worth seeing on the strength of Levy’s and Daymond’s performances alone.

All told, My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission is a flawed but fun addition to the My Hero Academia movies and well worth watching for fans of the franchise. World Heroes’ Mission opens in theaters on October 29th.

Check out our interviews with the with the stars of My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission here.

— Katie Cullen

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