“My Hero Academia: Two Heroes” is Plus Ultra!

Apologies for the title. The fruit was just hanging too low.

Why does everyone love “My Hero Academia”?

Well, there are a lot of reasons. The characters are lovable, the animation ranges from good to spectacular, and the writing is generally excellent. The action scenes are terrific as well.

But I would submit that the biggest reason of all is that it’s *earnest*. Consider that one scene consists of one guy punching another guy while yelling “UNIIIIIITEEEED STAAAAAAATES OOOOOOOOF SMAAAAAAAASH!!!!” and it is one of the most serious and dramatic scenes in the entire show. There was not a hint of irony in it, no winking at the camera, and no lampshading, and nobody wanted there to be. Because It. Was. AWESOME. And that’s exactly how the show presents it to us: As something awesome.

It’s this quality, this earnestness, that makes “My Hero Academia: Two Heroes” work so well. This is one of those movies that is so freaking fun that a lot of the complaints annoy me. “Oh, none of the events have a real impact on the overall plot of the show”. Who freaking cares? I’m watching a movie, not the show. “How come nobody ever references that this event happened at all, isn’t it kind of a massive deal?” I don’t care, I’m not watching the show, I’m watching the movie. “Isn’t it kind of contrived that somehow all of class 1A shows up?” What, you’d rather they not be there?

The only thing that really slows the movie down is the massive exposition dump at the start of it, but considering that the film is also meant to be accessible to folks who hadn’t seen the show I don’t really think it could have been executed any better than it was, and anyway it’s not like it took up all that much time.

And man, the main plot is so much fun. “Die Hard” with superheroes! Just say that out loud. How great is that?

So to summarize: All Might brings Deku with him to the famous I-Island, a massive moving island where scientists design cutting edge gadgetry for superheroes. All Might has been invited by his “niece”, his best friend’s daughter, Melissa, to surprise her father, David Shield, the lead scientist on I-Island. They’re there to celebrate the opening of the island to the public for the first time. Also there for various reasons are Bakugo, Kirashima, Mineta, Kaminari, Jiro, Momo, Ochako, and Ida (other characters get cameos but don’t really get to join in the fun, alas).

On the night of the opening, while a fancy reception dinner is going on on the bottom floor of the island’s central tower, villains hijack the security system and take over, leaving All Might unable to move lest bombs are set off. So of course it is up to Deku, Melissa (who knows the security bypass codes) and the rest of the class 1-A gang to make it to the top of the tower and shut off the security system before All Might loses the ability to hold his power form.

I’m not even really sure what there is to say except “Dude, this was AWESOME”. The first scene gives us a flashback to a young All-Might in his prime fighting crime in America and dude, it was AWESOME. So awesome that I wouldn’t even be amiss to seeing an All-Might prequel film, and I’m generally anti-prequels as a (loose, admittedly) rule (perhaps the first time he defeats All for One?). We get some great teamups, the highlights being the bromance between Bakugo and Kirashima and a fun Bakugo-Todoroki pairing.

Melissa, though quirkless, also proves to be a fun and likable character who has great chemistry with Deku. All of their scenes together shine. Both characters are just so damn lovable that it’s hard not to enjoy any scenes where they’re together, and they share a connection that really makes the relationship work. The plot was actually smarter than I thought it would be, and there were a couple of dramatic reveals at the climax that genuinely caught me by surprise.

And man, let me tell you, the final fight scene is absolutely spectacular, worth the price of admission all on its own. The animation was high quality throughout the film but they must have worked double time in the final fight because it looked amazing. My Hero Academia has always done a great job giving its heroes and villains unique and interesting powers and using them in creative ways, and the final fight is an excellent example, showing off all of the cool and dramatic ways the villain can utilize his quirk.

The movie also gives Deku an excuse to finally use One for All at full power and it has a ball with it, showcasing just how powerful Deku can be when he fights at maximum potential. And it looked freaking cool, man.

Also worth noting: The soundtrack is terrific. “My Hero Academia” has one of the best soundtracks in any anime and the movie didn’t disappoint. Once again we go back to the final fight scene, because the sound design there particularly was exceptional.

The only real downside is Mineta. He is awful and unfunny and drags the film down any time he speaks. But he does get one legitimately funny scene, which is more than you normally get from Mineta in any given episode, so hey.

I don’t really know what else there is to say. The movie takes itself and its story seriously and while we know the heroes will prevail in the end the threat is real and the stakes are high. This is the sort of movie that the west has a hard time making anymore – even “The Incredibles II” tries to put an ironic spin on superheroing with its “Bob as Super-Dad” subplot, and DC and even Marvel films can’t seem to find a way to keep audiences invested without making things “dark” – even the good ones, unless they’re flat-out comedies like the Ant Man or Guardians franchises.

For a film to wear its heart on its sleeve so openly, to be so unashamedly and unironically optimistic, to have so much fun and enthusiasm, and to be *entirely* and blessedly free of all and any SJW pandering is truly a breath of fresh air in the hyper-saturated American superhero landscape. Everything in America feels boiled down to formula; even the powers feel familiar and stale. “My Hero Academia” in contrast feels exciting, optimistic, and infused with life and energy.

You can just feel the fun bursting through the screen. Everyone absolutely loves what they’re doing, from the writers to the animators to the exceptional voice actors – I saw the movie dubbed and it was terrific. It is my no question, 100% pick for best superhero film of the year, which is saying something, because there have been at least three very strong contenders. Heck, let’s call it the film of the year thus far *period*. It’s earned it.

The movie will be staying in theaters until October 5th, and let me tell you, they’re selling out fast (I mean literally sold out, I actually saw people get turned down for tickets and I had to sit in the front row), so get your tickets NOW. “My Hero Academia: Two Heroes” gets my highest possible recommendation, ESPECIALLY for fans of the series but 100% for newcomers as well.