After the mediocrity that was "Bonds," I was convinced that the "Naruto" movie franchise had begun to deteriorate. This film, however, proved me wrong. Not only is it a return to form for the franchise, it just might be the best entry yet.
There are some very strong themes in this movie. They include self-sacrifice and the series' theme of remembering to never abandon your comrades, no matter what. The choices that the characters have to go through and the tension between some of the characters on whether or not to save Kakashi added a lot of stakes and drama to the proceedings.
The Konoha 11 all get prominent involvement in this movie, which is extremely refreshing after the previous movie "Bonds" gave most of the supporting characters almost nothing to do. They all get their time to shine and prove to be quite useful on the battlefield.
The action scenes are intense and exciting and really kept me on the edge of my seat. Hiruko isn't too special off a villain, but he's pretty serviceable and certainly a big improvement on the villains from the last couple of movies.
The animation is once again solid, even though I personally would have liked for the color palette to be just a little bit brighter. By the way, the ending scene is absolutely HILARIOUS!
I was very pleased with this movie. It gets the franchise back on track, and I would even say that it replaces "Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow" as my favorite "Naruto" movie so far. Definitely check this one out.
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