Is Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV Worth Watching?
Kalvin Martinez / Oct 13th, 2016 No Comments
Square Enix has a rather long, if not turbulent history of releasing films. It all started with Final Fantasy: Spirits Within back in 2001. Despite Hironobu Sakaguchi’s guiding hand, the movie failed to live up to fan and financial expectations. The movie’s poor performance resulted in the closure of Square Pictures.
Failure didn’t stop Square Enix from trying again. Learning from its mistakes, it produced a film related to its arguably most popular Final Fantasy entry, Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children released in 2005 to excitement from fans and financial success. However, the film was a bit of a mess. It obviously was a fan service movie whose success was based on feels and the gorgeous CGI.
A little over a decade later, Square Enix has made another film. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is firmly tied into Final Fantasy XV. While ambitious, it is not nearly as daring as Advent Children, but this works in its favor.
Square also didn’t do a wide theatrical release for Kingsglaive, favoring a limited theater engagement with an early digital roll out before a physical release.
Kingsglaive has been labeled a movie for Final Fantasy fans only, but hat goes without saying. Even with this caveat, the film has some problems. So, is Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV worth watching if you’re not a Final Fantasy fan? More than that, is it worth watching even if you are a Final Fantasy fan?
As an action film, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is alright. The film gets bogged down in too many details to be enjoyable on the surface level. It spends a lot of time juggling multiple characters and plot threads, while also dumping a lot of lore on viewers.
The film tries to make you care about Nyx and the other Kingsglaive soldiers who make up the backbone of the story. Most of these attempts are superficial, leaning on well-worn clichés of loss to create illusions of depth.
Whether it is the loss of a friend, sister or homeland, the new characters are driven by this theme. Since the film is less than two hours long, there isn’t enough time to explore any of these backstories properly to give actual meaning to the losses.
Nyx as a protagonist suffers from this lack of willingness to flesh out his history. There are subtle, flimsy moments of alluding to his sister’s death throughout the movie and a vague hint of PTSD as a result of it. Instead of exploring this, we’re given preternatural heroism and a sense of duty to cling to when defining Nyx. Hero soldier isn’t a particular compelling archetype to hinge a movie on. Nyx works as a means to facilitate the plot, which is Kingsglaive’s biggest concern.
Miles to Go
Make no mistake; Kingsglaive has an agenda to serve as a backdrop for Final Fantasy XV. There is nothing wrong with this, but it doesn’t allow the film to stand on its own.
This also results in Lunafreya and King Regis having the most weight to them as characters, although this is mostly due to artificially borrowing on their importance to the overall Final Fantasy XV narrative.
Flat characters do make for cool battle scenes. Kingsglaive does a good job of spectacle. The CGI is gorgeous in the movie, and the visuals will have you in awe.
What the movies does best is detail the fall of Insomnia and what happens after Noctis is sent away. We get a good glimpse at the depth of Niflheim’s barbarism and technological advantage. It helps flesh out the world of Final Fantasy XV.
What gets in the film’s way most is a need to overcomplicate matters. There are plot threads better served in a mini-series that feel rushed and shoehorned into a shorter movie. Much like Advent Children, Kingsglaive convolutes the plot to the detriment of the overall story.
Full stop: you should only watch Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV if you’re a fan of Final Fantasy. Perhaps to be even bolder: only watch it if you have an interest in Final Fantasy XV. Otherwise, you won’t get much from it.
Even with many flaws, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is important. Not as a standalone film, surely, but as a major piece of the Final Fantasy XV puzzle. It details an important parallel story to the main Final Fantasy XV narrative.
tags: final fantasy , final fantasy xv , Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV , opinion , square enix