This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a fantasy finale (How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera), wrestling relations (Fighting with My Family, starring Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden), and an inspirational sports drama (Run the Race, starring Tanner Stine and Evan Hofer). What are the critics saying?
Back in 2010, DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon introduced us to a viking named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and the dragon who would become his best friend, Toothless. Based on a children’s book of the same name, the film was both a critical and commercial success, paving the way for a sequel, a number of shorts, and even a couple of TV series. Fast forward almost a decade, and we have the third — and presumably final — installment of the film series, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and it looks like it’ll close things out with a bang. This time around, Hiccup’s island home of Berk is getting crowded, and with dragon hunters bearing down on them, Hiccup and Toothless set off in search of a fabled dragon utopia. Critics say The Hidden World is a fitting conclusion for the trilogy, full of spectacular visuals and a story that’s both entertaining and emotionally satisfying, and fans should be pleased by what they see.
It would be easy to look at the WWE Studios logo on the poster for Fighting with My Family and assume the movie is little more than a fluffy feature-length ad for the pro wrestling association that gave us Dave Bautista, John Cena, and Dwayne Johnson (who shows up in a small role, playing himself). Luckily, at least according to the reviews, it’s much more than merely corporate propaganda. Inspired by a 2012 documentary, Fighting with My Family tells the story of WWE star Paige (otherwise known as Saraya Bevis and portrayed by Lady Macbeth‘s Florence Pugh), who came from a family of wrestlers, entered the ring herself at a young age, and made the most of an opportunity to try out for the WWE. It’s the latest in a long line of coming-of-age underdog sports stories, in other words, but critics say it’s one worth watching, largely because Pugh is magnetic in the lead role, and writer-director Stephen Merchant infuses the tale with a generous helping of wit and heart.
Speaking of sports movies, there’s another one hitting theaters this week with a decidedly different angle. Run the Race takes another faith-based approach to the Midwestern sports drama, as it follows two brothers living on their own — Zach (Tanner Stine) is the star of his high school football team, while David (Evan Hofer) no longer plays, due to injury. When Zach also succumbs to injury on the field, the two of them face their troubles in startlingly different ways. We’d love to tell you what the critics thought of Run the Race, but the film wasn’t widely screened for them, which means it’s up to you to guess the Tomatometer!
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release