REVIEW: ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy’ Delivers A Dizzying Ending

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Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy

Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy is a live-action adaptation of the fantasy manga written by Hiromu Arakawa. With Ed trapped in Gluttony’s stomach, the situation looks pretty grim. But as bad as things seem now, this isn’t even a taste of the dangers to come before Ed and his brother, Al, can finally find some peace.

This final entry in the live-action adaptation series delivers a frantic level of twists, turns, reveals, resolutions, and consequences as it rushes towards its conclusion. Managing to feel both rushed and bogged down, Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy only manages to succeed at delivering on its numerous story beats about fifty percent of the time.

This movie hits its peak of momentum during the story’s highly rushed middle act. With background, villains, and the final grand plan all needing to be discovered and explained, the middle section of the story speeds through much of this in such a way that I would imagine even long-time series fans could become overwhelmed and confused.

As the movie enters its end game, this frantic pace comes to a screeching halt. The final baddies provide elongated challenges that come to drag on as one plan is thwarted by the heroes simply to be replaced by a sudden, even more significant threat than before. These repetitive challenges quickly caused the tension to fade from these supposedly dramatic moments and left me simply wishing the heroes would be done with it.

Following up the villains’ final (actual) defeat, we are then visited by so many wrap-up ending moments that it made the multiple endings that littered the wrap-up to The Lord of the Rings series feel succinct and quick. So many partings and conclusions occur that it once again just feels tiresome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure each of these characters is someone’s favorite, and seeing that bow tie up their story is a treat, but I wish they could’ve found some way to trim it down so they just got done with it faster.

The acting throughout Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy strives to recreate the energy of anime with its overly boisterous laughs, evil glares, and maniacal portrayals. While many of these moments fall solidly into the realm of camp, the movie and its cast intend this to be the case. I could never call it great acting, but it serves the purpose of the setting and story well enough.

Much like the acting, the action strives to deliver those over-the-top moments that are hallmarks of the anime medium. Unfortunately, the success rate here is a bit lower, but there are some cool moments nonetheless as the movie reaches its final grand moments.

One aspect that I genuinely loved about Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy was the creature design. Several CGI monsters inhabit this tale and manage to deliver some genuinely menacing moments. Like the best mid-budget productions, this feels largely thanks to the production knowing how far they could take their effects and sticking to that.

While Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy delivers some strong moments, these points of light in the production are ultimately swallowed up by a plot that both rushes through so much and manages to be far too slow in succession. There is probably enough good here for a hardcore fan of the source material to enjoy, but for anyone else, it provides far too little good to dive into.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy is streaming now on Netflix.


Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy
  • 5/10
    Rating - 5/10
5/10

TL;DR

While Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy delivers some strong moments, these points of light in the production are ultimately swallowed up by a plot that both rushes through so much and manages to be far too slow in succession. There is probably enough good here for a hardcore fan of the source material to enjoy, but for anyone else, it provides far too little good to dive into.

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