To start, let's stick with spoiler free. It was a great movie with solid characters and character development. The story was fairly standard, but still entertaining. There were a few moments of clunky exposition or unneeded repetition, but nothing that really killed the movie. Music-wise, there weren't any songs that I would say were bad, but I've already forgotten one out of the five songs, with two of them stuck in my head because they were so good.
Now comes the spoiler part. You have been warned.
The start of this movie was perfect for Twilight's character arc, with a nightmare being the first scene. The way this is carried throughout the movie was surprisingly well done, giving this version of Twilight a bit of a redemption arc. I know it was already done in the last movie, but this one solidifies her reasoning and gives a strong "Jekyll and Hyde" feel between Twilight and Midnight. I personally loved this part of the story, partially because it gave a fantastic, yet far too short song from her. As to the overall story of the movie, it's pretty much the girls dealing with magic when they weren't expecting to. However, towards the end, it transitions into a superhero movie, which I wasn't entirely expecting. Along with that, this entry of the Equestria Girls series gives a red herring, pointing you towards one of the new characters, and explaining their motivations, when it's really someone else. Well done, movie. Bonus points for that.
But now I have to address the elephant in the room: the romance subplot. Now, I'm not a fan of the way this subplot found its way into the first two movies. It was clunky, and didn't really fit into the overall story much. That along with the painful lack of character from Flash Sentry made those parts irritating to me. I liked the step away from it in Friendship Games, instead focusing more on the characters and story, but Hasbro or DHX or at least one of the other studios involved in this one thought it would be a good idea to put not one, but two romance subplots in here.
My thoughts on this choice? It actually worked. It surprised me when the main one actually tied into the story in a way that made sense and wasn't just to put one in there. Plus, that one didn't involve Flash, and instead took to someone that had a solid, albeit simple character. The second one felt a little more forced, but still fit in there fairly well. This one actually involved what seemed to be an attempt at rekindling a relationship between Flash and Sunset Shimmer, and while it only really had a couple of moments, it wasn't too bad. I was actually surprised at how well it was handled.
The way I see it, with the villain, she's more of an antagonist, as she's actually trying really hard to do good, but ends up taking it too far.
No, I'm not going to say who she is. This review may have spoilers, but I'm leaving that for you to figure out.
But what about the side characters? The other six main characters? Don't they play a role in this? Yes. Yes, they do. However, I'd say for this one, most of the Mane Six's counterparts take a backseat in this movie. The biggest focus is on Twilight and her inner struggles, and Sunset who's trying to help her. And while the other five definitely play a strong role, and show their growth over the previous films, their parts are smaller than I had expected going in.
Now onto the new magic that was shown in the previews. Well, I was a little underwhelmed with this part. All seven of our main characters end up with new abilities because of magic gems hidden in a stone cave in the middle of the camp. But while these abilities fit nicely with personalities of these characters, I feel as though there wasn't as much creativity as there could've been in the execution of this plot point.
The ending of this movie was fairly solid, too, as we see most of the conflicts resolved. But a question is brought up that leads to a scene that I hope will inspire similar movies to this one in the future, as we find out that there could be more than just this one random magical hot-spot. I personally think that would fill out a handful of extra movies with the proper pacing, or just one if they throw good pacing out the window and rush everything. But it was a good setup for future entries into this franchise, or possibly even a show continuing the adventures of our protagonists as they learn to be superheroes.
However, with all this praise, there are some things that drop my rating of this movie. Some of the dialogue doesn't really work for what they were going for, and there's a lot of repeated phrases, acting like we forgot something or just worded awkwardly in the context of the movie. A couple of parts stand out as odd or out-of-place, but nothing too bad. The lack of character exploration with a few of the new characters also applies to this, as the two most prominent of the new characters have fairly simple stories. The solo song from Twilight around the middle also should've been a good minute or two longer. What was there was great, but it felt like it was just getting started. That along with the completely forgettable intro makes me wonder why a couple of scenes that felt more forced were kept while other parts that could've enhanced the tone were either left out or cut.
Overall, a great movie, and the best one in the franchise so far.
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