Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, based on the popular board game still alive and thriving decades later, is one of those films that surprises you with how good it is as the story progresses. As you watch, you think, “this is ridiculous,” in a mocking tone at first. Then it becomes a laughing one by the end. It grows on you with each outrageous scene. It’s as though Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves made a smoothie with Spaceballs and The Avengers to a side-splitting effect.
The film, directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein with a screenplay by Daley, Goldstein, and Michael Gilio, comes with a lively cast, aside from Michelle Rodriguez’s hilariously monotone deliveries. This includes Chris Pine, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Hugh Grant, and Sophia Lillis rounding out the sticky-fingered crew. However, the story begins in jail or at an early release hearing—medieval style.
Dungeons & Dragons Has Humor That Wallops You Repeatedly Until You’re Crying in Laughter
Some bits improve over their longevity. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves sets this up immediately with Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) explaining—well, Edgin is—how they ended up in a life of crime. Edgin keeps halting his moving story that viewers see depicted onscreen to emphasize how important it is to wait for one committee member to arrive. He does this repeatedly, and his delivery and timing, with the addition of the dramatic music from his heartfelt story stopping, leaves you laughing more each time.
Another bright spot was Holga because her deadpan delivery counters Edgin’s animated responses. Like Edgin, her jokes kept going with hysterical results. Sometimes a bit takes repetition to build laughs. Both Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez are hilarious in their roles. Justice Smith as Simon and Sophia Lillis as Doric round out the crew, creating an awkward youthful counter. Simon struggles to perform magic primarily due to his imposter syndrome, believing he lacks talent. Regé-Jean Page adds a regally comedic layer, and, unfortunately, he isn’t on screen more.
References Other Films and Genres
The humor is that practical comedy present in films like Spaceballs. I still remember them combing the desert. When Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves does a rotating shot lifted from the dramatic scene in The Avengers, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Some jokes remind me of technological humor in other films, like the glitch when Edgin performs. The movie has so much to enjoy, and it’s funnier the more you watch. Even magical battles are Western-style showdowns, showing the movie understands its genre and how to channel other beloved films and genres.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is reminiscent of ridiculously laughable horror from decades past. It’s a sketch that doesn’t end, with practical effects that bring to mind Labyrinth and other Jim Henson-style films and series. There are films you watch in theaters, and that’s the end. Then there are others you must have in your collection, and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves falls into the latter. It’s one that you can revisit time and again with an underlying heartfelt story of family, with neverending laughter.