After several years and three series, we get the last chapter of Trollhunters.
Back in 2016, Guillermo del Toro debuted his Trollhunters series as the first entry in the franchise that he called “Tales of Arcadia,” after the town in which the shows take place. It ended up being a blend of genres with magical realism and science-fiction both working in the same space. Moreover, the shows did a good job of focusing on the characters and their motivations, giving the stories a lot of emotional weight beyond many shows designed for children. They also shared characters, with several secondary characters from one show becoming leads in the next. While Trollhunters and 3Below mostly stood on their own, Wizards was less self-contained and relied heavily on the audience to have watched Trollhunters in order to follow the plot. Naturally, as the conclusion, you really had to watch all of those series to get this film.
At the conclusion of Wizards, there was a strong hint that the greatest threat to all of the characters was still ahead, even though Nari (Angel Lin) of the Arcane Order had switched sides. Sure enough, the film reveals that the two remaining members, Bellroc and Skrael (Piotr Michael and Kay Bess), can kidnap her and force her to help summon the Titans, beasts that will remake the Earth back to the moment of creation. Merlin’s apprentice Douxie (Colin O’Donoghue) tries to buy time, but ultimately, the Titans arise. Now it’s up to the Trollhunter Jim Lake (Emile Hirsch), whose powers currently aren’t working, as well as his girlfriend and powerful spellcaster Claire Nunez (Lexi Medrano), his best friend Toby (Charlie Saxton), and the trolls Blinky and Aaaaargh (Kelsey Grammer and Fred Tatasciore) to stop them. Fortunately, they’ve got a lot of help coming, ranging from dragons to aliens to the occasional suburban mom.
I’m going to go ahead and say that this film was probably re-written at some point. The film, like the franchise, is built around the nature of sacrifice and what heroes do in order to help the rest of the world. Jim is a hero because he is willing to risk his life for others. Krel and Aja (Diego Luna and Tatiana Maslany) are willing to sacrifice their freedom in order to keep the peace. Douxie has sacrificed centuries to try and be a guardian of magic and the Earth itself. The end of this series was probably always going to have a lot of loss, because that’s usually the price we pay for keeping the world safe, and much of this movie really drives that home. A lot of characters die or sacrifice themselves, and those losses really hit you in the gut. I was really glad that a series took the stakes of the film seriously and didn’t just wave everything away. ***SPOILERS*** At least until the ending, which undoes the events of literally everything that’s happened in the entire franchise. I’m not kidding, everything is undone and, honestly, I’m not sure that I believe the new timeline won’t result in everything dying. It’s genuinely selfish of Jim to go from a situation in which some of his friends are dead but the world is safe to putting everything back up in the air, completely, out of a hope of saving them. It really not only ruined the movie, it ruined the character.
Overall, until the end, it was a solid film, but man, did they drop the ball.