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Director: Adam Wood Cast: Thomas Middleditch, James Marsden, Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina, Will Sasso, Nathan Fillion, Rob Riggle, Jane Krakowski, Craig Robinson
Rating (PG): ★★★
REVIEWED BY CHRISTINE POWLEY
Henchmen (Reading) has been stuck in the pipeline since 2018 and as this is being touted as the Christmas of global shortages it is easy to see why it would be tempting to dust it off, as animation films do well in the holidays. It is also easy to see why it was not released in the year it was made.
It starts with a good premise, that while movies are always making us concentrate on the doings of superheroes and super villains the people lurking around in the back of shots just might have their own interesting stories to tell.
Where things start to go astray is that we have two main characters. Lester (Thomas Middleditch), an orphan who longs for the excitement of being a baddie, and Hank (James Marsden), a henchman who quickly discovered that the baddie lifestyle is not for him, but unfortunately this is one gig where you can not walk away.
Lester comes under the reluctant tutelage of Hank when he signs up with the Union of Evil but their story lines never really merge so it is hard to work out whom we are supposed to care about. In fact, patchy writing is at the root of all this film’s problems. All the characters lack a consistent arc, instead they behave in whatever way will work best for the scene they happen to find themselves in.
Director Adam Wood spent years as an animator with Pixar and I felt that if Henchmen had gone through a Pixar polishing it would have made a lot more sense. However, call me a contrarian, I also feel I probably would have liked it less as imperfections at least give you something to think about.