Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV Review
What a time to be a Final Fantasy fan. Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV is part of the Final Fantasy XV universe, which includes the video game as well as the Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV anime. Set in parallel with the events of the game, Kingsglaive focuses on events surrounding King Regis Lucis Caelum, the father of the game’s main character, Noctis.
The movie opens with Lunafreya, voiced by Game of Thrones‘ Lena Headey, telling the story of a war-torn world. Lunafreya explains how the technologically advanced Niflheim conquered country after country, including her own. The last holdout, Lucis, a kingdom rooted in ancient magic, is the only thing separating Niflheim from total domination.
If you are familiar with Avatar: The Last Airbender, you may see parallels between Insomnia, the capital city of Lucis, and Ba Sing Se, the capital of the Earth Kingdom. Both are protected by a nearly impenetrable wall that gives the citizenry a false of security. Both have issues with refugees. Both are thorns in the sides of their would-be conquerors. Both have elite fighting forces that are devoted to king and country… Yeah about that. Just as all was not what it seemed in Ba Sing Se, Insomnia is facing her fair share of problems.
Nyx, voiced by Aaron Paul, is considered the game’s main protagonist. However, he is little more than window dressing. A refugee with an ability to wield the king’s magic, he is a convenient tool and a beautiful representation of the type of force that will not be able to guide Lucis into its new era. Granted, this particular tool gets a lot of screen time. There are plenty of angsty looks, snark and swordplay.
Lunafreya. Full stop. In a time where female character are frequently stuffed in refrigerators to motivate a male character, Lunafreya is the type of female character this Deadly Diva longs for. Forged by the Nilfheim fires that overtook her homeland of Tenebrae, Lunafreya, and her older brother Ravus emerge with completely different outlooks and motivations. Where Ravus is pessimistic and rightfully disillusioned, Lunafreya has never stopped fighting. Hopeful, yet realistic, she refuses to bend to the will of her brother, King Regis, Nilfheim, or Nyx. Without Nyx’s sword or King Regis’ magic, Lunafreya is still a force to behold. She is not waiting for the menfolk to clear a path, she’s making her own way.
Lena Headey is reunited, audibly at least, with Ned Stark. Sorry, I mean Sean Bean, who voices King Regis Lucis Caelum. As Lucis’ sovereign and its magical anchor, King Regis is literally using all of his strength to hold his kingdom together as he faces enemies on all sides. Only the old kings of Lucis know if Sean Bean manages to make it to the end.
The emperor of Niflheim is formidable. However, Niflheim’s most fabulous export is her chancellor – Ardyn Izuna. His mix of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter and the Fourth Doctor made for quite the scene-stealer.
Since the production team that worked on Advent Children also worked on Kingsglaive, it is as visually stunning as one would expect. In fact, there are more than a few moments where this Diva believed she was watching a live action movie. The attention to detail was incredible and would have been the highlight if it were consistent. The main characters Lunafreya, King Regis and Nyx were always on point. However, when it came to some of the supporting characters, this Diva may have joked that she knew where the budget went.
As much as a Diva enjoyed Kingsglaive, all was not well in the kingdom. At nearly two hours, Kingsglaive is a bit bloated. The fight scenes run longer than necessary… and that is saying a lot coming from a Diva that has watched Dragonball. But I get it. All the animators deserve to see their work on-screen. And the work was magnificent, which makes Kingsglaive worth the watch even if you are not one of the Final Fantasy faithful.
Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV will be in select theaters August 19, 2016 and is coming to PlayStation Video on August 30, 2016.