Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Review

I’ve often heard from folks that while it’s fun to play a campaign of Dungeons & Dragons, it’s not fun to hear said campaign recounted. Few people want to hear how someone rolled the perfect die score to pull off jumping out of a gelatinous cube at the last second, even if that felt high stakes in the moment. But thankfully, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a film with likable characters and relatable relationships, giving viewers the chance to vicariously live out what feels like a live-action retelling of an absolutely chaotic campaign.

Dungeons & Dragons review image-01

 Dungeons & Dragons & a Daring Heist

Our story begins through the lens of Edgin Darvis, played by Chris Pine. A failed quest to resurrect a loved one lands him in jail, alongside his partner-in-crime (figuratively and literally) Holga Kilgore, played by Michelle Rodriguez. Breaking out of prison, the two head to the city of Neverwinter to continue their quest, finding that a former party member betrayed them. On the run once more, they join forces with the self-doubting sorcerer Simon, played by Justice Smith, and the ingenious druid Doric, played by Sophia Lillis. Together, the unlikely heroes devise a plan, and then another when that one fails (and then another…) in their quest to take back the city and its loot from enemy forces. 

So how does Honor Among Thieves adapt the classic tabletop role-playing game of Dungeons & Dragons? The movie essentially plays out as an abridged version of a full campaign. With the overarching goal of raiding Neverwinter, the quest contains various sub-quests that involve traversing a wide range of locales and encountering various monsters and characters. The plot feels like somebody took an actual D&D campaign, lasting hours and hours and distilled it into its greatest hits. As such, the film has several time and location jumps, yet it still feels surprisingly cohesive. It also relies on time-worn fantasy tropes, meaning it doesn’t reinvent the wheel but makes it more accessible. 

Dungeons & Dragons review image-02

A Homebrew Campaign with Fun as the Goal

For hardcore fans of the game, the film does cram in many references to various elements of the tabletop pastime. As someone who has only played a few sessions of Dungeons & Dragons, I don’t know all the ins and outs of the world of D&D and its lore. So I phoned a friend who plays D&D monthly. He told me that the film does take liberties with the mechanics of the game, but stays true to its spirit. 

For example, one scene has Doric “wild shape” into an entire menagerie of creatures in a fantastical escape scene. In the actual game, she would have a limit of a couple at a time. That said, my friend said that “the rule of cool” could potentially see a Dungeon Master allowing players to bend the rules to do something epic. It’s a great comparison, since rules that make a game challenging, such as limits to the number of times you can use Sending Stones to communicate, don’t necessarily make for a fun plot. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves plays into the narrative rules of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign while shying away from the more game-like ones. 

Even with my lesser experience of the game, I recognized how the film sets up scenarios and then plays out as if somebody made the most fun choice possible. The script feels like screenwriters Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Michael Gilio, and Chris McKay played a campaign and encouraged each other to make bold choices. For example, an early prison-break plight presents the characters with seemingly two options, hilariously revealing that one of these would’ve ended in success just as our heroes pick a wacky third option that still works. In actuality, Goldstein and Daley, who also directed, reportedly did play a campaign with the cast, and it shows.

Dungeons & Dragons review image-03 

The Party That Parties Together, Plays Well Together

Just as a D&D campaign only works if the players have fun, the actors appear to have a blast in their roles. Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez make a regular comedic duo, with stoic barbarian Holga playing it straight against Pine’s zany bard. That said, she still gets in a few funny lines and reactions. Smith and Lillis play Simon and Doric less for laughs, but ground the film with their character’s uncertainties and anxieties with the increasingly dire plans of Edgin. 

And, of course, supporting characters Xenk Yendar, played by Rege-Jean Page, and Forge Fitzwilliam, played by Hugh Grant, have their own fun. Fans of the game, or folks with knowledge of alignment charts, will get much enjoyment from Page’s commitment to “lawful good” in everything his paladin does. Meanwhile, Grant seems to have a blast in the film as the roguish Fitzwilliam, throwing out snarky commentary on every little thing, from the height of his pedestal to the heat of his tea. Daisy Head deserves an honorable mention as the stone-faced Sofina, constantly appearing to hold back the popping of a blood vessel from Fitzwilliam’s antics. 

While the plot and characters of Dungeons & Dragons mark a pivotal ingredient for the film’s success, other elements of the film delightfully build out its world. The fight choreography actually gave me pause to think about how tough it must have been to pull off, especially in a tightly-fought bout between Xenk and an undead general. The production design and effects make the world feel like a unique fantasy biosystem that people—and creatures—inhabit. One hilariously surreal special effect late in the film suggests it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a meme. And in a way, it encapsulates what this film does. Dungeons & Dragons has its epic and heartfelt moments, but it rolls a near 20 by never taking itself too seriously. 

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves


Taking inspiration from the more chaotic narratives that D&D’s system of storytelling allows for, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves offers a thrill ride from start to finish. The film may take some liberties with the game’s mechanics, but it should greatly appeal to both fans of the tabletop game and of 80s-style fantasy films.


  • Direction and script evoke a campaign that’s Chaotic Good.
  • Actors play into the traits of their characters and appear to love it.
  • A healthy mix of practical and special effects populate the world.


  • Tropes don’t add anything new to the fantasy genre (but still provide fun).
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves