The RWBY reviews continue with the new movie! I had to buy this one immediately on day 1 because the hype was too real. After all these years RWBY was finally getting the movie it deserves. After completing the movie I can definitely confirm that it is a great title and hopefully this gets more people into the fandom. Automatically there are a lot of DC fans who will watch this one even though they haven’t seen RWBY and so it’s a good introduction there. I will say that it doesn’t quite feel like the movie budget but just seeing the characters is cool.
The movie starts off with Superman waking up in a different world and for some reason he’s a teenager. He remembers fighting someone but can’t remember anything beyond that. He’s quickly saved from danger by a pair of superheroines known as Ruby and Yang who defeat the Grim monsters in the area. There is something off about their world too though as the Grimm are now able to absorb all dust related abilities which means that Weiss and Blake are going to have a tough time but it won’t affect Yang and Ruby quite as much once they adapt. Superman knows that he needs to find the rest of the League and quickly but why are everyone’s memories off?
Now amnesia is not exactly my favorite trope. I’d always choose to have the crossover with both verses at their peak in terms of strength and ability but hey at least it is the real characters as opposed to the comics which went in a very different direction. Mainly part 1 is about solving the mystery of why everyone’s memories are spotty and why things just don’t line up. For example why are all of the RWBY characters in their volume 1 outfits yet they have things that they shouldn’t yet. (Ex: Yang’s metallic arm) I remember people pointing that out immediately in the trailer which helped to build up the suspense of what was going on here. The mystery is very engaging and of course you’ll have a lot of theories right off the bat. They’re trapped in a dream, a simulation, time travel’s at work, visual illusion, just an AU, etc. The reveal definitely works pretty well with this in mind.
Now this is still a part 1 so don’t expect the full answers to be revealed. I won’t say where this takes place in the RWBY series yet but from the ending you can narrow it down to the volume and come pretty close to the exact episode that makes the most sense. If the ending just went on for an extra minute or two that would have been great to confirm exactly where the cast is. I’m also really intrigued on who the big villain for part 2 will be. I’ve got really high hopes for that one and so I hope part 2 comes out soon. My understanding is that both parts were animated back to back in the middle of Volume 9’s production so it should already be all done. Summer release would be nice as opposed to waiting for the Fall.
So lets jump onto the good stuff first. It’s super nostalgic to see Ruby and the gang in their original forms dealing with classic Grimm. It’s a very nostalgic return to form for their classic days and the environments look very clear. We get to see a lot of interactions between the cast in a fun setting that wouldn’t really be possible currently with how high the stakes are. It’s always nice to see the characters have some downtime to just talk and this movie has a lot of that with the various interactions.
I also liked the emphasis on using dust again since it’s been a while. In the main series the heroes always use dust like Weiss with her rapier, Raven’s attacks, etc. but it’s all just used silently and it’s nice to discuss the specifics of dust some more. Beyond it being an energy source we’ve never gone too far into it and you always wonder what the upper limits are. In theory you figure more fighters should be able to make super powered weapons powered by dust to fight the Grimm. Perhaps they wouldn’t be as advanced as a huntress but it would still be very useful in war efforts.
The crossover aspect itself is great as well of course. Seeing the heroes interact was fun and Team Jaune taking on the Justice League’s B team was fun. The fact that they basically won that fight was also excellent. While Team RWBY may typically overshadow them, it’s important to remember that this team is still very skilled and has a lot of powerhouses on their side. They aren’t the type of fighters to just roll over and take a loss. By this point in the series they are full fledged hunters and huntresses after all.
There is a ton of action here as well so if you missed that in volume 9, there is no shortage here. Now granted I would have liked more human type fights like the earlier battle I mentioned. Most of it is against the Grimm and since the monsters can barely fight back it’s not like you can have as much fun with the choreography. Of course you see all of the super attacks being used but when things are too one sided it just won’t have the same impact as a true fight. In a power levels sense I also have some doubts on how well they do against the larger Grimm but I think given the situation and context I can overlook those power level moments because it’s not quite as if it happened in a normal setting. Otherwise I thought the power levels were good and the RWBY verse looks real impressive here. They have homefield advantage of course but it still counts. (I hope Part 2 takes place in DC’s world because that would make a lot of sense as a parallel although given that we’re probably sticking to the RWBY animation style, maybe they’ll just keep home court. It would also be interesting if the League just doesn’t appear and part 2 is purely RWBY but that would be an odd choice given the title)
Now for the animation, it’s classic RWBY style so it looks great. I would just say there is a bit of a noticeable downgrade compared to the RWBY show which is a bit ironic. Typically you expect the movie to blow the show away after all but that’s not what happened this time. It’s very clear and the attacks look good but the animation itself is a bit choppy. Now from what I heard, this happened fairly last second as between episodes 7 and 8 in production the animators were all pulled off of the show to work on Justice League and that’s why the volume was pushed back. Not sure how much of this was confirmed but if they did have to rush through the two movies to get back to the show then it does make sense that this one’s a bit choppier.
Still, even a weaker RWBY style is still great and I enjoyed the visuals. The DC character designs were more of a miss for me but that’s not strictly speaking animation. It feels like they were trying too hard to make the League look like RWBY characters and they come across more like NPCs or fanfic characters. Batman’s design is easily the weakest although Flash would be in second there. They just don’t look much like the characters and I think they really could have done a better job there. Reminds me of when I would create a character in Soul Caliber and you could see the resemblance but it just wasn’t right.
The film is fairly short but makes the most of every moment so you do feel like this was a complete adventure at all times. The heroes are always rushing from place to place and with how often you switch from plot to plot, it never reaches a slow point. That’s probably one of the most impressive parts of the movie really. The amount of content it covers is impressive and whenever we’d get a flash into the RWBY memories that was a lot of fun. We even see a new angle to the big Adam scene from Volume 5 which was intense. No matter what that guy always find a way to return.
The RWBY characters are mainly all in character as you’d expect so I’ll keep their sections brief. There really isn’t much to talk about in terms of Yang and Blake. They go in and do their job as needed. Yang’s maybe a bit overprotective of Blake the whole time which I feel is retroactively setting things up for volume 9 unless the writers are trying to acknowledge Blake as the weakest but otherwise the film does her a lot of justice. This is easily the most powerful Blake has looked in years and I was glad to see it.
Ruby is struggling to be an effective leader here as everyone shouts her down and holds her back but ultimately she proves that she has the right stuff. She was good when it counts. Meanwhile Weiss showed off her expertise in using computers which was cool and in general she was in command of the situation. I would actually say she looks the best from all the RWBY characters. Jaune is in competition for that title though as he helps out Green Lantern quite a lot in this one. He gives her multiple pep talks and shows her what it means to be brave even when you don’t have powers. He was just really patient the whole time and very genuine. You can see why he is a good leader.
Ren looks pretty bad the whole time though. He gets jealous about Nora way too quickly to the point where he is always bickering with Cyborg. They could have toned that down somewhat as he is usually supposed to be the emotionless one so why he is blowing a fuse in every other scene? It just didn’t feel like the usual him at all. Meanwhile Nora was definitely more on the aggressive side here and taking things personal. Definitely not the really chill and goofy Nora you may expect but at least she does a ton of damage in every fight so you can cut her some slack.
On the DC side of things, Superman looks solid. He’s a natural leader as always and is someone you can count on. He gets a lot of great scenes and consistently thinks things through before making a move. Then you have Batman who in comparison is one of the worst members here. (Not the worst though, that’s coming up) Now in part I would say the voice is to blame a bit as he just doesn’t sound like any version of Batman and lacks the power or charisma behind him. But most of it is just how he’s written here. He’s a bit sloppier, has no prep time, and tends to get humiliated a lot. He’s lacking in confidence and apparently has always wished he could have powers. He gets outbrained by Weiss in the computer room and just wasn’t the decisive, capable vigilante that we’ve always known. This guy is truly Batman in name only. They really should have just kept him as being super in control the whole time around and that would have went over perfectly.
He may have stolen the show a bit but that’s what Batman does so it would have been worth it. Not much to say about Vixen, I’d say she seemed in character and was about what I expected. She has a good amount of confidence and is always ready to fight which is good. Then you have the Flash who is definitely on the goofier side but his character is ultimately handled well and the movie even has a great reason for why with his speed he isn’t just ending the movie in one second. Leave it to RWBY to come up with a solid way and not let this turn into the usual power level hax that happens with the Flash.
Cyborg definitely looks rather disgraceful here though and even worse than Batman. Yes this guy is the worst. He yells at Ruby for basically no reason and I was really hoping Yang or someone would slug him at some point. Sure he apologizes and says he was stressed out but really? Eh I didn’t think that was a great excuse. Then he also does seem to be overtly flirting with Nora at times which seems very much like a wrong place kind of moment. They’re trying to save the world right now so there’s no time for that. Yeah this was definitely not his best moment.
So in some ways I do think the writing could have been a little better to really maximize the effectiveness of the crossover. With the characters not being fully in character, it makes the meetup not work quite as well as it could have. I’d also have liked more in-fighting but that’s a fairly small thing. Either way this is still a great film and one I would definitely recommend checking out. It also holds up well as a stand alone film so you don’t have to worry about watching the sequel per say. Watching it as soon as possible is good to help with the sales and views then maybe we can keep getting more films in the future. Crossovers with the Teen Titans, Avengers, TMNT, and more would all work really well. The possibilities are endless to be honest.
Overall, It’s really nice seeing RWBY in a movie. They deserve a theatrical movie one of these days to really show off the budget but right now this will definitely work. It has been fun going on this little RWBY review marathon but all things must come to an end and unfortunately there probably aren’t going to be many other RWBY reviews for a while because there aren’t many other products out right now. Hopefully that will change sooner than later but in the meantime you need to enjoy this adventure while you can. It has a lot of replay value because of all the fights so you can enjoy watching it a lot.