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Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild

Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild

The Netflix adaptation of Capcom's iconic series serves up a more faithful adaptation than W.S. Anderson's feature film, but still struggles to impress.

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At this point it's hard to think of a major video game franchise that doesn't have a movie or TV series in the works. Many studios have scrambled to throw their hats in the ring after
watching projects like The Witcher dominate the competition over on Netflix. Whilst there certainly has been a boom in quality as of late when it comes to these types of adaptations, one series that really struggled to stick the landing was Monster Hunter.

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Released during the pandemic, the franchise's theatrical debut was slated by critics for its clunky writing and muddled plot, and it struggled to even recuperate its budget of $60 million. Still, whilst this was disappointing for many, fans still had one last flicker of hope as Netflix revealed it was cooking up a Monster Hunter movie of its own. Known as Legends of the Guild, this short film is tied narratively to both Monster Hunter 4 and World and it sports a gorgeous CG style that looks more in line with the main series of games.

Legends of the Guild acts as a prequel to both of the aforementioned titles, as it follows the backstory of Aiden, a young Ace Hunter that you will have likely encountered on your monster slaying journey. This well-worn narrative sees Aiden transform from a scrappy teenager to a seasoned hunter after he is tasked with defending his village against the rampage of an all-power Elder Dragon. Much of the plot focuses on Aiden forging together a plan of attack and learning the ways of being a hunter from his newfound mentor Julius.

Starting with the positives, I liked how the story here is accessible to both those newcomers and series veterans. With it acting as an origins story, no prior knowledge is required, but for fans of the series there is value to be gained in seeing an existing character's story getting fleshed out. I also found the voice cast here to be superb with Dante Basco (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Hook) knocking it out the park with his portrayal of Aiden and with Brando Eaton (Dexter, The Mentalist) also delivering a memorable performance when playing Julius.

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Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild

Sadly though, I found its 55 minute duration (without credits) to feel far too short. Aiden's character development just struggles to feel organic and we are given little time at all to get to know the characters he meets along his journey. The script also fumbles with the forced nods that it makes to the main series of games. I found myself cringing every time Aiden made a pun out of a monster's name and the frequent references to in-game items and systems felt unnecessary other than to show that the filmmakers had done their homework.

I also found that the battle sequences here really lacked a sense of tension. With the film being a prequel story, it was pretty clear that the characters would succeed in their goal and live to tell the tale and the other supporting characters present didn't receive enough screen time for me to really care about them. That said, I found monsters like the Velocidrome to behave faithfully to how they act within the games and it was fun to watch a battle play out in front of me without being in the heat of action.

Despite it being well-voiced and beautifully animated, I'd still only recommend Legends of the Guild to the most avid of Monster Hunter fans. The character development here feels rushed due to its short 55-minute run time and its events feel awfully predictable due to it being a prequel story. I also found its frequent nods to the series to feel awfully forced and I struggled to feel connected to any of the cast beyond Aiden and his newfound mentor Julius.

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While it remains a closer and more faithful adaptation to its revered source material than Paul W.S. Anderson's feature film, the Monster Hunter universe still deserves a more ambitious effort. Netflix tries, and in some cases succeeds, but on the basis of semi-lacking action sequences and an overwrought script, fans will have to keep on being patient.

Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild
Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild
05 Gamereactor UK
5 / 10
overall score
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Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild

Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by Kieran Harris

The Netflix adaptation of Capcom's iconic series serves up a more faithful adaptation than W.S. Anderson's feature film, but still struggles to impress.



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