Square Enix's dedicated CGI studio Visual Works has recently brought us a computer-animated sci-fi movie based on the setting and plot of the long-awaited 2016 video game Final Fantasy XV, making it a must-watch for any lover of the Final Fantasy series. Kingsglaive takes place in tandem to the events of the game, and features the Kingsglaive, an elite guard of fighters who must defend the magical kingdom of Lucis against the menacing empire of Niflheim.
As a Final Fantasy fan with little prior knowledge of the upcoming game, I've enjoyed the movie thoroughly — from the quality of the stunning graphics we are used to, through the fast-paced action sequences, to the whole gaming vibe.
Despite having enjoyed Kingslaive: Final Fantasy XV, I don't think the movie was flawless, and I especially don't think this is a movie for everyone. And having visited Rotten Tomatoes, it was clear that the popular opinion was favorable among fans, and less so with critics.
A Movie Adaptation Or A Never-Ending Cut Scene?
The story of Kingsglaive was based around the original opening of Final Fantasy XV that had to be cut from the game due to content volume concerns. No wonder the introduction felt like watching the intro cut scene of a Final Fantasy game (good for me, maybe bad for you).
The story set the stage for the events of the video game without revealing major spoilers. The movie is able to stand on its own while beautifully showcasing the world of Final Fantasy XV, exploring the locations with gorgeous shots, and making you eager to play the game. But in the end, it does feel like little more than a stunning piece of promotional material.
Lately, Final Fantasy has been having this bad habit of overwhelming the player with a great amount of information and world building right from the beginning. This movie seems to follow that pattern. If you aren't used to Final Fantasy dynamics, I can picture your mild expressions of confusion through the narrative. Not to mention it is long. There was an exhilarating, fast-paced tension, until it became too much.
Considering the production utilized a professional screenwriter, it is disappointing that we end up with poor dialogue supporting the stellar cast.
I'm going to be honest, I was never a fan of the Final Fantasy movies. I always thought they should stick to the games. Now, I did mention I've enjoyed Kingsglaive. There was a clear improvement on the earlier movies, and a distinct state of mind that indicates Final Fantasy cinema is heading in the right direction. But it's not there yet. My conclusion? I liked the movie because I'm a Final Fantasy geek.
The Final Proof: The Nostalgic References
While the movie was created with a larger audience in mind, and regardless of having succeeded or not, it's obvious that Final Fantasy fans are the primary target. And what more can a Final Fantasy fan ask for, than this nostalgic feeling we're given by including several references to earlier games (Diamond Weapon, Ultros, Bank of Spira to mention a few).
Overall, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, is able to stand on its own, unlike its cousin Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Still, the amount of fan service is obvious, with references, tropes and an overall vibe that will probably make this movie more appreciated by the fans than the general public.