Dragon Age: Absolution is now available on Netflix.
Have you heard the one where a Qunari, an elf, a dwarf, and three humans walk into a bar? Well, if by enter you mean “break in” and if by bar you mean “impenetrable fortress containing an ancient magical artifact”. That is the plot of Dragon Age: AbsolutionNetflix’s animated adaptation of Bioware’s fantastic video game saga.
With six half-hour episodes, Absolution is a delightful action-packed pastime. However, the focus of the Dragon Age story in this tightly woven story makes inaccessible to those unfamiliar with the saga. The complexity of the characters and the appeal of the story make Absolution a memorable installment in the fantasy franchise, but the series’ brevity and its insistence on acting as a setup rather than a standalone game stand in its own way.
Having said that, It’s a lot of fun, with a stellar cast.. Our cheerful cast of six leads include the mercenary elf Miriam (Kimberly Brooks), the elegant Roland (Phil LaMarr), the exuberant Qunari wizard Qwidion (Ashly Burch), the grumpy dwarf Lacklon (Keston John), the dutiful wizard Hira (Sumalee Montano) and their charming leader Fairbanks (Matthew Mercer). Josh Keaton voices the Tevinter wizard, Rezaren, with an optimism that brilliantly transforms as he deepens into obsession. The cast is excellent, injecting these characters with a magnetic lightness and life.
The fight scenes are fluid and dynamic, masterfully choreographed to showcase vastly different styles. However, there comes a time when most of the series turns into some kind of prolonged fight scene. There’s little room to breathe along with the characters as they go on their quest. Essentially, we’re made to fast-forward through his arc from near-strangers to loyal comrades. This is likely due to the short length, and to be fair, the relationships between the characters are compelling despite the hurdle. The fact that we are left wanting to see much more shows the strength of the script.
Miriam, in particular, is a fascinating protagonist who is incisive and ruthless when it comes to taking on her enemies. However, her strength lies in a wonderfully wrought vulnerability in Brooks’ performance. In many ways, this series is about the return, about revisiting the place of your trauma and deciding how, why, or whether or not to get over it. Brooks beautifully balances Miriam’s pain, anger, and regret.
As the backbone of the series, Miriam and her allies feel wonderfully studied. Their conflicts, both internal and interpersonal, weave seamlessly into Dragon Age’s established story in a way that captures the full breadth of the world these characters inhabit. Nevertheless, there is an unfortunate side effect. While Absolution does its best to make audiences unfamiliar, approaching the story without knowing the franchise’s history can lessen the impact of certain twists. Other recent animated adaptations, such as Arcane and The Legend of Vox Machina, have been more successful in this regard. There is very little time in Absolution. While the series makes good use of every second, it often feels like a glossary could come in handy if this is your first foray into Dragon Age.
It’s like visiting an old friend, even though most of the characters are brand new.
Nevertheless, Existing Dragon Age fans will have a blast with Absolution, in which they will revisit the world of Thedas and see the powerful magical nation of Tevinter come to life for the first time. There are exciting nods to the games, brief cameos from beloved characters, and an exciting twist with high-stakes implications for future installments in the franchise. It’s like visiting an old friend, even though most of the characters are brand new.
Complex characters and a compelling story make Dragon Age: Absolution a memorable installment in the fantasy franchise, but the length of the series and its deep roots in the game’s lore often get in its own way. However, taken together, It is still a very fun series that fans of the saga will undoubtedly like. The fight scenes are masterfully choreographed and the cast shines with its own light.