Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive is part of the multi-media project of Final Fantasy XV, with this being the prequel before the game’s events. That is the biggest problem with the film – it’s not complete. There are loose plot holes that never get resolved, wasted potential in character development and questionable motivations for everyone. Of course, hopefully it gets resolved in the final game.
Kingsglaive casts Hollywood actors and actresses to voice the characters in the film instead of the voice actors from the game. Lena Headey as Luna gives a passable performance, with certain delivery of lines lacking an impact or emotion. Aaron Paul as Nyx is a plain “action hero” stereo-typically fitting for a video game, not for a movie. He does have a more enjoyable performance compared to Headey due to his material. Finally, Sean Bean as King Regis gives the best performance in the film. Every time he speaks is delivered with a somber tone, due to the circumstances of the plot. It does not help that the animation gives off “uncanny valley” and it is obvious when the characters’ facial expression or lip-syncing do not match with the tone of the scene, which further reduces the impact of a scene.
As for the plot, it is incoherent, even by video game standards. Almost every character has motivations that are convenient to the plot. The film tries to have a Shakespearean level plot mixing Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and Hamlet. The actual plot is a cheap high-school imitation. Luna throughout the film is always hopeful and strong, but her motivations are unclear. Just why is she doing all this? The film has a short introduction narrated by Luna that gives a five minute exposition of why everyone hates each other. The answer? Because. Nyx is the only character that even comes close to having any development. That’s not saying much however. Nyx’s development in the film is just like the game: sporadic, rushed, and scrapped. There are moments where Nyx shows a human side (with his immigrant past) which conflicts with his position as a member of the King’s royal guard (hence Kingsglaive), but all the emotional scenes are passed over to get to the next set piece. The bad guys (the Kingdom of Niflheim) are a one-dimensional superior army looking to conquer nations because. No explanation of why the countries are fighting. No real coherent motivation of all the “twists” and betrayals. Nothing until the game comes out (if ever).
So what does this mean for Final Fantasy XV? The game has been in development for nearly a decade, and quite honestly the expectations for it will never be reached. Nobody really expected Kingsglaive to be a great film, just a passable one for the fan base or to reach out to a wider audience. Compared to Spirits Within, this is Citizen Kane. But regardless as a video game tie-in and film, Final Fantasy Kingsglaive is what would happen if a game had no gameplay and only a two hour cutscene.