Fullmetal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy

Thank Father that’s finally over.

“I cannot fix what was taken from you back then but I reorganised your insides.”

As if even they knew the series wasn’t sustainable, the makers of the Fullmetal Alchemist films have decided to end it here, forcing a trilogy out of something that could sustain a half dozen productions easily in a move that’s known by almost nobody as a “Reverse Hobbit”. Even though The Revenge of Scar wasn’t exactly what I’d call a good film, it led me to think that – if handled properly – the series could end on a … well, not high note exactly, but a middling note. Instead, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy nosedives into territory almost entirely unheard-of in the world of manga adaptations.

In this one, brothers Edward (Ryosuke Yamada) and Alphonse (Atom Mizuishi), must work with their closest allies and some enemies to stop the first homunculus – a figure called Father (Uchino Seiyou  in a dual role) – from creating a massive transmutation circle and turning himself into a god. Or whatever. The film doesn’t care about the plot, so there’s no reason I should either. We get introduced to Pride (spoilers, it’s Selim but if you’re reading this instead of watching Brotherhood, then I have nothing to say to you), and General Armstrong (Chiaki Kuriyama whose presence guarantees that at least three or four minutes of the movie are watchable), and everyone you know and love is back except Kimblee I guess, because fuck Kimblee. He was apparently the one story element they couldn’t shove into this clown car of a film.

As expected from a film that attempts to shove thirty-odd episodes into its 140-minute runtime, everything is a rushed, semi-sensical mess. I remember the introduction to Pride in Brotherhood: a gloomy, suspenseful sequence where soldiers, investigating the massive tunnels dug out by Sloth, are attacked by a mysterious shadow monster. In Final Alchemy, we see Selim in the woods. Someone calls him Pride. He does a little smile. On top of that, it’s also the movie that has to introduce Father as the primary antagonist of the entire story. This means that none of the other villains, including most of the remaining homunculi, gets to actually do anything substantial. Greed decides he wants to be Ling, but there’s no reasoning behind it. The same is true for just about anything that happens here: it turns out, ten seconds aren’t remotely enough to establish character motivations.

Anyway, it’s a film that checks the Iconic Scenes You’ve Watched on YouTube boxes, and seems to think that’s good enough to tell the sprawling, epic and emotionally deep story that Fullmetal Alchemist absolutely nailed in both book and animated form. The only thing worth watching here is Chiaki Kuriyama, who has never gone wrong in playing stubborn, unflappable badasses. Considering how comically awful Alex Armstrong was, it’s incredible they were able to make his sister work on screen.

And that’s it. That’s all the compliments I can give this film. Everything else is trash. The cast try to save it, when they’re not giving up entirely and chewing the ugly-as-sin CGI scenery. The alchemy is The Last Airbender levels of unappealing, and the less said about every iteration of The Dwarf in the Flask the better. His “god” form looked a bit silly in the anime, for sure, but this takes it to a whole other level.

After seeing this, I can’t even hate the Attack on Titan movies as much. Yeah, they were ugly and missed the whole point, and were also mostly trash but at least they tried to do something with the story in the second film. There was always a lot of ground to cover (little did they know just how much ground – how many final seasons is this thing going to get?), so they rushed everything in a way that (at least on paper) could work in film. This piece of shit didn’t even try to adapt. It just picked some scenes, shot them in front of the shoddiest green screen work I’ve seen in years, and didn’t bother to edit anything to make it make sense. The Fullmetal Alchemist movies are the bottom of the barrel of manga adaptations. If this is Truth, then I’d rather live in ignorance.

Verdict: Awful. Just awful. Don’t watch it. Do literally anything else.

Overall entertainment: 2/10 for the efforts of the cast and the costume department
Violence: 1/10
Sex: 0/10
Continuity between scenes: 0/10
Character work: 0/10
Wigs: 1/10
Sloth: How is it possible he looks more like a cartoon than in the animated series?

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy (2022)
Also known as: Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Chapter and Fullmetal Alchemist: the Final Transmutation

Director: Fumihiko Sori
Writers: Fumihiko Sori, Takeshi Miyamoto, Hiromu Arakawa (manga)


Ryosuke Yamada – Edward Elric
Atom Mizuishi – Alphonse Elric
Tsubasa Honda – Winry Rockbell
Uchino Seiyou – Hohenheim/Father
Dean Fujioka – Roy Mustang
Keisuke Watanabe – Ling Yao
Misako Renbutsu – Riza Hawkeye
Chiaki Kuriyama – Mira Armstrong
Kanata Hongo – Envy
Yuina Kuroshima – Lan Fan
Kokoro Terada – Selim Bradley
Shinji Uchiyama – Gluttony
Ron Monroe – May Chang
Motoki Fukami – Jean Havoc

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