Fun but lacks interesting stakes and doesn’t build the world much.
Even as one of the best shonen anime in recent years, My Hero Academia’s movie still suffers from the same tropes and typical faults that plague most movies based on a popular show; just about everything that happens is inconsequential, flashbacks are used too frequently to fill in known backstory, and the new side characters see little development. Still, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes starts with an incredible burst of energy that, like All Might’s power, dwindles until the climax comes along.
My Hero Academia: Two Heroes takes place before the start of Season 3 during Deku’s summer vacation, and to kick it off, All Might takes his protege to I-Island, a neat man-made island that serves as a massive Quirk research facility and support item development center. Since only invited guests are on the island, everyone is allowed to use their Quirk freely, which made for a bunch of interesting visuals and new heroe designs early on in the movie. Then things go awry a la Die Hard and The Raid (yes, you read that right) as the entire island is taken hostage by villains, leaving it up to the heroes in training to save the day.
The highlight of Two Heroes – aside from All Might saying sh*t like a person cursing for the first time – is the opening few minutes that feature a college-aged All Might in an alternate Los Angeles. It’s a wonderfully energetic start featuring unique American heroes and villains. This opening felt a lot like a Hollywood superhero movie, complete with a family trapped in a car saved at the last minut by a hero. The My Hero Academia anime hasn’t explored much of All Might’s youth, so this scene featuring him in his spry days before claiming the Symbol of Peace title are especially exciting.
Then the recap and flashbacks start rolling. Even though this movie is supposed to take place well into My Hero Academia, it still has to go through the motions of explaining One for All, Deku’s insecurities when he was Quirkless, and other My Hero Academia basics. These were mostly kept in the first third of the movie, but they definitely bogged down the excitement prompted from the introduction. Two Heroes also suffers from the common anime movie flaw of throwing to a flashback of something that happened earlier in the movie to explain a new thing or to try to amplify dramatic moments. It’s in these scenes I wish the movie would treat its characters more like actors who can convey their feelings adequately without the assistance of an overlaid scene, and trust the audience to remember a thing they were just shown.
Two Heroes also had the unique challenge of getting the students of 1-A to the island with Deku, and while their meeting was a little too convenient, it was still a funny one. Even with many of Deku’s classmates taking the bench for this movie, the few scenes that capitalize on certain relationships between students – Bakugo and Kirishima, Deku and Ochaco, and even Kaminari and Mineta – are some of the most entertaining parts as things slow down in the middle. For instance, the ever-angry Bakugo is complimented so well by the rest of the cast as they try to get him to be less of a raging embarrassment when Todoroki and Deku dare to get close to showing him up at an event.
David Shield, All Might’s long-time friend, and his daughter Melissa Shield are decent additions to the growing My Hero Academia character list. Her and her father serve as obvious parallels to Deku and All Might, and that’s about where their character development and depth starts and ends. Melissa gets a lot more screen time than her father, and her spunk and insight into hero support technology are interesting at least. And while they understandably didn’t get a lot of development since Two Heroes has to juggle so many characters, the two did show off tons of neat technology. I doubt it’ll happen, but it would be interesting to see these two make an appearance in the anime at some point. David and Melissa could potentially have a lot to offer as researchers who specifically work on support items for heroes beyond Mei Hatsume.
Between the good character moments and the big stretch of action is a disappointing deliberation between the heroes in training about using their Quirks against villains. This was already explored so well in the anime, and even without that comparison, their deliberation is a little underwhelming since they’re already on an island where they have permission to user their Quirks. But once that’s all wrapped up and the students take to scaling the tall tower to complete their objective, we get to see what each of the students joining Deku and Melissa on their mission do best.
The action hits its highest point at the end, and it’s here where animation studio Bones really flexes its animation chops. I don’t want to spoil it, but the final fight is designed like what’d you’d hope to find at the end of a good superhero movie. While the main villain isn’t very compelling nor does he have an interesting design, the intense end fight makes up for that a little bit.