Movie Review: Onward (2020)

Release on March 6th, 2020, Onward was the latest animated feature film to be released in theaters, just before quarantine due to the pandemic of COVID-19. Due to quarantine, Onward could not do as well as previous films but did get great reviews. It quickly went digital and was released on the new Disney Plus platform. It was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar creating a unique magical world with the story written by Don Scanlon, Jason Headley, and Kevin Bunin. 

Set in the magical modern city of New Mushroomton, we follow the Lightfoot brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt), who are two elves on a quest. The two lived with their mom, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Their mom’s boyfriend, Colt Bronco (Mel Rodriguez) who is a Police centaur, comes over but the boys don’t like him.

On Ian’s 16th birthday, Laurel gifted the boys a magical staff, rare Phoenix gems, and a letter that was left to them by their now-deceased father, Wilden. In the letter, their father talked about the visitation spell, which can resurrect someone for a single day. While Ian was holding the staff, he accidentally cast the spell but only recreated Wilden from the waist down before the gem disintegrates. The brothers set out to find a new gem. They take Barley’s van called Guinevere to the Manticore’s Tavern. Manticore (Octavia Spencer), who also goes by Corey, argues with Ian over the map the brother’s need. During which she accidentally sets on fire, not only destroying her restaurant but the map Ian and Barley needed. The only thing they had left was the hint about Raven’s Point is a mountain nearby.

Laurel realizes that her sons have gone. She goes to the Tavern where she meets Corey and explains that the quest that Ian and Barley are on could awaken a curse, which can only be defeated by a certain sword. The two women team up to help the brothers but first, they must steal the sword from the pawnshop before following their trail.

The boys are on their way to the mountains when they run into the police and a motorcycle gang of pixies. Ian uses his new spell-casting abilities and Barley his RPG skills to escape them. They find Raven’s Point by following raven statutes. Colt and his reinforcements are close behind them. Barely uses Guinevere to cause a landslide and block them from following. They eventually go through a cave avoiding traps and monsters. Barley admits to Ian that when their father was dying, Barley couldn’t bring himself to say goodbye. The two suddenly are transported to Ian’s High School. Ian upset walks away. As he does so, he realizes that everything on his list to do with his dad is everything he’s done with Barley, who has always been there with him. Ian returns to where Barely is. They figured out that the gem is in the fountain out front. They retrieve it but now the curse has been activated. A dragon-shaped golem. The boys fight the dragon off with the staff’s magic. Corey and Laurel come flying in with the sword and together with Ian, where they fight off the golem. In the meantime, Barley gets to say goodbye to the now-finished Wilden thanks to Ian. 

When the fight is over, Barley tells Ian that their dad is proud of him and they share a hug. At a later time, Ian is now experienced in spell casting, he surprises his brother with painting his new van and naming it Guinevere the Second. Corey has fixed up her tavern and is much happier, telling tales of her past adventures. Ian and Barley are in a better with Colt and as the world begins to learn more about magic, Ian and Barely are off on their next adventure. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I am giving it a 4/5 stars. Onward is great for families, brotherly love and showing just to be true to yourself. Onward teaches us to believe in ourselves, which is a lesson I think many of us need. It is a mix of magic, fantasy and human world combined. There are also a ton of awesome Easter eggs linking to Marvel if you haven’t caught them, go try to. Don’t fret if you you can’t find them though.

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