It’s Hard to be the Bard: “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” Review

A review on the movie “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

by Sophia Smith, Co-editor in chief

“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” opened in theaters March 31, 2023, is a high energy adventure movie based on the famous tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). It follows Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine) with his ragtag party of adventurers Simon Aumar (Justice Smith), Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez) and Doric (Sophia Lillis). After being imprisoned for years following a betrayal from one of their previous party members, the party finds themselves tasked with saving Edgin’s daughter and, by proxy, the entire kingdom of Neverwinter.

As someone who plays D&D, I was initially very concerned about this movie when the trailer came out. Lots of people have tried to make movies or cartoons based on D&D and it’s safe to say none of them have gone all too well. But after I watched this movie in theaters, I can confidently say this movie is surprisingly really good! One of my biggest concerns about the movie is that it would take itself too seriously (anyone who has ever played a session of D&D knows that you almost never take it seriously.) But this movie felt a lot like “Guardians of the Galaxy” in its humor and action, which is a huge plus for a movie about D&D. It really encapsulates the feeling of a D&D campaign in its dialogue and story. It also uses a lot of actual D&D lore, like the mention of Mordenkainen, or the fact that the tiefling character was born to human parents. Little details like this really add to the overall feel of the movie.

Along with the excellent writing of the film, the movie’s characters are really engaging and entertaining to watch. The actors in this film were great choices for a movie based on D&D, because they carry the chaotic energy in a way that still feels fun without feeling lost or confusing. Chris Pine was incredible and very funny as the main character, Edgin. Making the main character a bard was a fantastic choice, in my opinion. But by far my favorite characters were Simon and Xenk Yendar (Regé-Jean Page). Both of their performances were absolutely hilarious, especially Xenk, who played the part of the NPC (non-playable character) that the party encounters on their adventure. The subtle jokes they make about Xenk being an NPC were hilarious and the character itself was extremely entertaining to watch, so much so that it made me wish he was actually part of the party. I can forgive that, though, because the way this character leaves the party is really funny.

However, my absolute favorite part of the film was the special effects. D&D has a lot of very colorful and interesting races to choose from, and although we don’t see them in the main party (besides Doris being a tiefling) they make many appearances in the background. For example, all of the races that are based off of animals (like the dragonborn, aarakocra and tabaxi) are done with practical effects and puppetry. Whoever made this choice was an absolute genius. Sure, it may not be “realistic” looking, but it gives the movie so much charm. On top of that, the soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. It makes all the action scenes and dramatic moments so much more enhanced, which is what a good soundtrack should do. 

I do have a few problems with the movie, though. Although I like the story of the film, the main antagonists of the film, Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant) and Sofina (Daisy Head) never felt all that intimidating. Even when it’s revealed the organization they’re working for and they have their dramatic monologues towards the party, I had a hard time feeling for or understanding their motives. Along with that, the fight with Sofina at the end didn’t feel that hard. All of the build-up was great and I liked it a lot, but it fell short right at the end when it should’ve been the most dramatic moment in the film. I especially felt strongly about this when Simon does a very important thing during the fight that I won’t spoil here. He just says it nonchalantly when I feel like it should’ve been a big moment, especially since it was a huge thing at the beginning of his character arc. Aside from that, though, I think the moment between Edgin and Holga at the end was very endearing.

Overall, “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is a really great movie and I had a wonderful time watching it, especially since I watched it at the Alamo Drafthouse which immediately improves any experience watching a movie. Its references to D&D and other D&D media was very cool. The actors and characters were charming and the story was really fun to be a part of. Even with its little fumble at the end, I loved this movie a lot. If you like D&D, it’s fair to say you’ll probably enjoy this movie. Or, if you don’t know anything about D&D, this movie is still a really fun watch that I think you’ll enjoy anyways. I give this movie a solid 9/10.