“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” writes a love letter to the fantasy and heist genres



“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” plays out like a typical D&D game: fast, fun, and full of action.

Akilesh Kale, Copy Editor

Warning: Mild Spoilers for “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is a movie released on March 31, 2023 produced by Paramount Pictures and directed by Johnathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. Based on the popular Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TTRPG) Dungeons and Dragons and set in its “standard” setting of the Forgotten Realms, the movie is an action-packed light hearted romp and serves as a love letter to the game and its players. 

The story centers around Edgin Darvis, played by Chris Pine. Darvis is a spy-turned thief and bard who put together a crew of adventurers to raid a vault of ancient artifacts, in search of the “Tablet of Reawakening”, a magical item that can bring back the dead. When Darvis gets backstabbed by one of his crew members, Forge Fitzwilliam, and sent to prison, he must assemble yet another party to steal back the tablet and save his daughter, Kiera in the process, who is under the care of Forge. 

The movie itself seems to be one that attempts to ride on the coattails of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; being a snappy action/adventure movie with plenty of quips and jokes. The stakes vary between potential world ending threats and more personal ones. The movie centers around an extremely powerful Macguffin that is core to the interpersonal clash between Edgin and Forge. However, whereas the “formula” that the MCU has stuck to time and time again seems to be failing in recent movies like “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and even in competitors like DC’s “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”, Honor Among Thieves seems to work with the idea and tweak it in different ways to bring new life to the genre. 

The main way it does this is simply taking inspiration from the original base game. D&D at its core is about a group of friends having fun around the table and going on epic fantasy adventures. Naturally, it wouldn’t make sense for the movie to be along the more serious side of fantasy a la something like the Lord of the Rings. Director Goldstein mentions that “We talk about our influences ranging from Princess Bride and Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the broader side of things, to The Lord of the Rings,” in an interview with Den and Geek.  

“Honor Among Thieves” plays into all of the tropes expected of traditional fantasy and action films, sort of subverting them in a tongue-in-cheek way while also fulfilling them to the letter. The main MacGuffin isn’t some world-ending device, but it is a tool to make or break the “world” of the protagonist. There is an “assemble your party” segment of the movie where each character’s motivations are introduced and developed on throughout the rest of the movie; such that each character gets a satisfying end to their arc.

Speaking of, let’s talk about a very major part of the movie; the heist sequence. After all, the movie is explicitly about a band of thieves and their machinations; a heist is pretty much imminent. Each character’s skills and personality get to shine in this Indiana Jones styled segment; for example, Doric the Druid has an ability that allows for her to shapeshift into animals as small as a fly or as large as an owlbear (part-owl, part bear). She uses this information during the heist to gather information for the team or to find alternate routes into the team’s goal when the original routes are compromised. The party’s mage, Simon the Sorcerer has to challenge himself to harness his randomized magic to the party’s benefit. The heist is full of twists and turns that add to the tension of the story and the drama between the heroes and the villains. 

Overall, Dungeons and Dragons: “Honor Among Thieves” is a solid movie that can be watched by anyone regardless of knowledge of the franchise. It is filled with humor, heart, and wit. It’s a nice one-off movie, maybe more if you’re a really big fan of the base game.