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Review: Explosions, valor and visuals lift crowd-pleasing ‘My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising’

Katsuki Bakugo, left, and Izuku “Deku” Midoriya in the movie ‘My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising’
Katsuki Bakugo, left, and Izuku “Deku” Midoriya in the movie “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.”
(Funimation Films)

The second theatrical feature from the hit anime fantasy-adventure series “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising” delivers the selfless feats of daring-do, slapstick comedy, friendship and over-the-top battles fans love and expect.

In this alternate world, 80% of children are born with “Quirks:” extrasensory powers that can make them superheroes — or archvillains. Unlike American superheroes who are always cool, Izuku “Deku” Midoriya (voiced once again in the English-language version by Justin Briner) is untidy, fretful and insecure. Although he was born without powers, he received the redoubtable “One for All” Quirk from ultimate hero All-Might.

For the record:
10:56 AM, Feb. 26, 2020 An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated that the movie is not rated.

As an assignment, Deku and his classmates from U.A. High (which trains superheroes) help people with everyday problems on the peaceful island of Nabu. The calm is shattered by the arrival of Nine (Johnny Yong Bosch) and his assistants. Nine has stolen multiple Quirks, but the strain of using so many powers is overtaxing his body. He needs the healing Cell Activation Quirk a little boy on Nabu possesses.

While their classmates take out Nine’s formidable backup squad, Deku and his friend/rival Katsuki (Clifford Chapin) tackle Nine. Director Kenji Nagasaki pulls out all the stops in the climactic battle, serving up a dazzling array of explosions, lightning, punches, kicks, storm clouds and more explosions. The brilliant palette infuses the sequence with a striking visual beauty, even if the result is a foregone conclusion.

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Deku’s willingness to sacrifice himself to protect the weak, not for glory or rewards but because it’s the right thing to do, feels especially welcome in a time of widespread rancor and naked greed.

'My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising'
In Japanese with English subtitles, and dubbed English versions

Rated: PG-13, for violence and language

Running time: 1 hour. 44 minutes

Playing: Starts Feb. 26, in general release


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