HENCHMEN Review; "[The Movie] Fails To Take Advantage Of Its Unique Premise"
Vertical Entertainment's Henchmen is released in select theaters and drive-ins, Digital and On Demand this Friday, but its unique premise is sadly wasted in a movie likely to only appeal to young kids...
We're all familiar with supervillains, but do the goons who serve them have a story as well? In Vertical Entertainment's Henchmen, those, well, henchmen, are given the spotlight as Thomas Middleditch's Lester joins the Union of Evil, and finds himself serving as the protégé of Hank, a baddie (who's really not all that bad) who has fallen foul of the evildoers he works for. When Lester gets his hands on an incredibly powerful suit of armour, it seems Hank will have to embrace the heroic path he's spent so long avoiding to help put the youngster back on the right path.
It's an intriguing premise, and not one Adam Wood's movie quite manages to pull off. Nothing he brings to the table here is particularly inventive or exciting either visually or from a story perspective (he also penned the screenplay). Thankfully, the terrific cast goes some way in making up for that, with Middleditch, James Marsden, Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, and Craig Robinson all on top form and clearly having fun with the material.
Henchmen boasts an animation style more akin to a TV series than what many moviegoers are used to seeing from the likes of Pixar, Dreamworks, and Illumination, and for whatever reason, it looks a little unfinished. It's almost as if the movie was half finished and then given a quick polish in time for its release this Friday. Most kids won't care about that of course, and this is definitely one they'll have a blast with. What's on offer here is a tad too simplistic for adults to get much out of, but there are enough colourful characters, silly moments, and exciting action that its target audience should have some fun even if it lacks any truly superpowered moments.
Ultimately, it's just a shame that Henchmen doesn't make better use of its premise, but it does feature a diverse cast of characters who are mostly memorable, a decent, albeit simplistic message, and a few stellar performances. These separate elements don't quite gel well enough to make this a memorable journey, while things do get a little convoluted or confusing in places thanks to certain concepts not being given enough space to breathe. Still, with theaters closing and only limited offerings available right now, this is worth checking out if you're looking for a way to entertain your kids for 80 minutes this weekend. Parents, meanwhile, will probably appreciate the soundtrack if nothing else, and there's a funny post-credits scene it's worth sticking around for.
Henchman fails to take advantage of its unique premise and doesn't feature the same quality visuals as other animated offerings, but an A-List voice cast and entertaining gags mean kids won't struggle to get invested in this quirky, colourful world.