Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV begins with a packed montage of heavy exposition, detailing the world of Eos and the conflict between the empire of Niflheim and the kingdom of Lucis. The scenes are beautifully rendered, but are so fast-paced that the audience ends up confused. This pretty much sets up the tone for the rest of the film.
It’s sad, really. The film is packed with excellent themes and bits of world-building; the characters struggle with notions of heroism, nationalism, fate, and identity. The poor pacing and editing doesn’t give the film any space to breathe, hindering audiences from understanding characters and empathizing with their plights.
Kingsglaive is so beautifully rendered though. Each frame is filled with such amazing detail, boasting the animators’ craftsmanship. Unfortunately, Square Enix seems to think that such amazing visuals could make up for a badly edited film. This is most evident than in the film’s third act.
In typical Final Fantasy fashion, the film concludes with a battle of epic proportions and destruction. It’s all gloriously animated but, by the time the CG dust settles, the audience cannot be blamed for feeling numb to the protagonist’s catharsis.
As an expansion of Final Fantasy XV’s universe, Kingsglaive doesn’t really feel like a “prequel film”. Prequel films, despite their nature, should be able to stand on their own. For example, The Phantom Menace can be understood in a single viewing without seeing any other Star Wars media. Kingsglaive, on the other hand, needs the game to explain itself and help audiences understand it better.
If anything, it’s more like a really long commercial for Final Fantasy XV and the PS4. It spoils with you eye-popping visuals, gives you a taste of the product but leaves you wanting more. For better or worse, Kingsglaive is the best Final Fantasy XV ad ever made.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars