‘My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission’ Review: Boy on the Run

A villain aims to use a biological weapon to eliminate all mutants? Call Professor X: That story’s played now. Too bad it’s the narrative of “My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission,” the missable third film based on the popular anime series.

In “My Hero Academia” the majority of the population has a “quirk” or superpower. When a quirk-less boy named Izuku Midoriya inherits life-changing powers, he enrolls in an elite academy to learn how to become a professional hero.

Like the other animated films, “World Heroes’ Mission” is a stand-alone story and so holds no stakes in the larger narrative. In the film, when Izuku is framed for a crime he didn’t commit, he goes on the run with a young thief named Rody Soul. They discover they’re linked to a plot by an anti-quirk cult that aims to commit international acts of genocide.

“World Heroes’ Mission” has shinier visuals than the anime, with crisp backgrounds in vibrant colors and 3-D graphics. Kenji Nagasaki’s direction feeds on the energy of the fight scenes, but the rapid cuts and camera shifts makes it dizzying to witness. And for an anime that’s beloved for its cast of characters — its earnest do-gooder hero students and fascinating villains — all except Rody are ignored for the sake of a formulaic plot and forgettable antagonist. The final fight is as long and as perfunctory as the rest, despite a god-level power-up.

That means “World Heroes’ Mission” has little to offer veteran fans of the series or new viewers, who won’t find any of what makes the series great in what’s essentially a filler arc. At least the film can’t taint the lovable qualities of the show. “World Heroes’ Mission”? Please save me.

My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission
Rated PG-13 for animated explosions, thrashing and bashing. In Japanese, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes. In theaters.

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