Bursting with creativity and aflame with emotion, Onward is a Pixar classic for the ages. Unfortunately, the movie isn’t quite perfect.
The film starts slow, with a solid first third. Its gorgeous world is introduced well. Onward‘s suburban setting makes for a feeling unique to itself. Right off the bat, the film is established as something unlike anything Pixar has made.
Within the film’s first 30 minutes, its emotional power is proven. Though it all happens a little too quickly, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) Lightfoot bring back the lower half of their dead dad. And the scene that follows is quite endearing. It proves the film’s ability to execute visual storytelling and solidifies Tom Holland as stellar voice actor.
Soon after, the boys set off on an adventure. This quest stumbles through its first few stops. But after a fateful trip to a gas station, the movie speeds up tremendously, and in more than one way.
After somewhat of an emotional gut punch, you realize the film will take you much deeper than anticipated. And that’s only a taste of the powerful scenes to come.
Unfortunately, the film veers a little off course from here, at least on one side of the plot.
Onward’s quest aspect is a bit cliché. Or, at least, a tad bland. On top of this, it’s jammed full of convenience.
That being said, if you’re willing to play along with some all-to-easy parts of the journey, you’ll have fun. The Lightfoot brothers’ quest is full of tense action, heartfelt moments, and even a few laughs.
The movie’s final third, however, is something marvelous.
Onward shines brilliantly in its last act. The film puts its pieces together perfectly, correctly executing payoff. Its climactic action sequence is dynamic, swift, and fun. And, most importantly, the third acts tugs on your heart strings.
While the trailers lead many of us to believe otherwise, Onward will crush your tear ducts. In its final third, the film proves itself as something powerful. It executes emotional storytelling perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that it’s able to portray its deepest messages implicitly. And those messages can leave anyone, wether they relate to Onward‘s story or not, with something to treasure.
The movie may not be a masterpiece. But its huge heart and wonderful messages make it special nonetheless. And while Pixar may not have its next Toy Story, Onward need not be anything more than itself.