Magic, Mayhem and Macguffins
The Tales Of Arcadia trilogy has been an enthralling and magical watch over the years. Dating way back to 2016, Guillermo Del Toro’s award-winning animated world has had quite the ride. From its humble beginnings with the three seasoned Trollhunters through to its follow-ups, 3Below and Wizards, all of these set the stage nicely for this final movie installment to close things out on a bang.
This action-packed animated romp is essentially the final send-off for our heroes, gathering all of our big players together for one last fight to save the world. And boy are the stakes high!
Now, it’s worth bearing in mind that anyone who hasn’t seen the previous shows will be completely lost. While there is a hurried bit of exposition at the start to try and catch viewers up, there’s just so much going on in this world that it’s hard to cram all of that into a 100 minute film.
For those who have followed the Arcadia saga over the years, Rise of the Titans wastes absolutely no time getting right to the heart of the drama, opening with a breathless fight between Douxie and the Arcane Order on a subway train.
This group of wizards are dead-set on capturing the earth-spirit Nari, who’s currently under Douxie’s protection. Well, Nari ends up kidnapped while Jim’s lost amulet means he doesn’t have his trollhunter powers anymore. The Arcane Order are not done yet though.
They have plans to reset life on Earth and start anew, summoning three monstrous titans to storm the Earth. If joined together, they’ll bring about the end of the world – and there’s less than 18 hours too stop it.
This forms the basic crux of the story, as our characters are split up and try to thwart this threat and save the world. There is some deus ex machina here, namely with a macguffin called the Krohnisfere and its purpose. Now, I won’t spoil what that is here but suffice to say it’s going to be very polarizing for audiences.
Endings can make or break shows and the one that Guillermo Del Toro has concocted for Rise of the Titans feels like the wrong one. Up until the final 10 minutes, there are some genuinely good moments of sacrifice, stakes and character growth. The ending feels like it stamps all of that out in one fell swoop of contrivance. While some may like this, for me personally it nullifies what we’ve seen up until this point.
Much like seasons past though, Rise of the Titans is absolutely beautiful. It’s a film brimming with neon-lit visuals, awe-inspiring action and some pulsating set pieces. There’s a lot to like with this, and seeing all of our favourite characters back is certainly great to see.
While Rise of the Titans is beautifully rendered and heart-wrenching at times, the plot and its over-reliance on macguffins puts a damper on this conclusive chapter. In the end, this film feels like it bows out with a convenient shrug rather than a triumphant roar.
Read More: Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans Review