'Wizards: Tales of Arcadia' Review: Guillermo Del Toro's final chapter is smart, funny and leaves us wanting more
'Wizards: Tales of Arcadia' is actually one heck of a series that leaves the door open to a potential movie or better yet, a string of at least another ten episodes
'Trollhunters' debuted to positive critical acclaim in 2016 on Netflix. The fantasy animated series was regarded as a breath of fresh air in the genre. Guillermo del Toro's work based on the book he wrote for Disney was all about monsters, a hefty dose of magic and a world where just anything was possible. There were ample comparisons to 'Stranger Things', another hit series from the streamer that is set to be a cult show in the years to come.
Following the success of 'Trollhunters', Netflix and Dreamworks decided to take things forwards and reward fans with a trilogy by adding '3Below' and now 'Wizards'. And from what we saw, courtesy, an early-watch screener of ten episodes from Netflix, it's time to buckle for another roller-coaster ride in the mythical world. Except, it isn't all kiddy. 'Wizards: Tales of Arcadia' is actually one heck of a series that leaves the door open to a potential movie or better yet, a string of at least another ten episodes.
To be honest, 'Wizards' manages to beat its predecessors and much of it has to do with the fact that it is essentially the final part of the trilogy. Almost every character returns for one final battle of the ages and the animation has been cranked up a few notches making it more stylish, classy, and at the same time not too over-the-top. Couple this with some crisp storytelling and 'Wizards' will leave the audience wanting more as del Toro consciously leaves some threads hanging.
The stark difference is the connect 'Trollhunters' has to Wizards than the second installment. The main man this time is Douxie (Colin O’Donoghue). Merlin's apprentice and Barista by day and his sidekick happen to be a cat called Archie. Wise-cracking and nerdy, Alfred Molina's Archie is more than just an aww-inducing kitty as he is downright witty and filled with wisecracks. Douxie has his own battles to fight. For starters, he still is waiting to prove himself to Merlin.
Here's a quick skim of the plotline. Arcadia's heroes embark on a time-bending adventure to medieval Camelot that leads to an apocalyptic battle for the control of magic that will determine the fate of these supernatural worlds that have now converged. Major characters return that includes Jim (Emile Hirsch), Claire (Lexi Medrano), and Toby (Charlie Saxton), who fight alongside the characters we’ve met from the previous series —Merlin (David Bradley), Morgana (Lena Headey), and Gunmar (Clancy Brown). There's also enough storyline given to the Amulet creation by Merlin.
The novelty part comes in the form of a powerful new enemy, the connection to the characters, and some secret pasts that we've haven't seen or heard before. The battles are a visual delight and serve as the perfect balance for the series that is otherwise a lot funnier by theme. Our advice ahead of watching 'Wizards' would be to re-watch the previous installments. By the end, the cliffhanger means there is a shard of hope for a potential new series even though 'Wizards' was ideally the end.
There are quite a few questions that are left unresolved and that is a bit disappointing as realization kicks in that we don't see a new series anymore. But, we can only hope.
'Wizards: Tales of Arcadia' premieres August 7 on Netflix.