Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar Review: Bloody, Brutal, and Metal as Hell

Here's our review for Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar, now on digital and Blu-ray.

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment and Adult Swim have teamed up to bring classic franchises back with new movies, and that endeavor resulted in the returns of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and The Venture Bros. earlier in the year. Adult Swim fans have been fairly receptive to each of these projects as they have hit, so the major question has been whether or not this hot streak could continue with Metalocalypse. Brendon Small's Death Metal-infused series has returned with a new movie nearly ten years after its TV finale aired on Adult Swim, and is sending things off with a proper farewell. 

Metalocalypse ended its TV run with Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem – A Klok Opera, and while that already seemed like a massive event, the final moments of the series finale actually left off on a cliffhanger teasing that the end was still not yet revealed. This grand finale has finally come in Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar. Set immediately after the events of the TV finale and almost seeming like a "Part 2" to that event, Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar will be a much better experience for fans who want to see how it ends. But for everyone else, there's lots to rock out with. 

Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar picks up right after Nathan Explosion (Brendon Small) and Dethklok rescue Toki Wartooth (Tommy Blacha) from his kidnapping (as seen in The Doomstar Requiem), but the only one who remembers how it all ended with them getting god powers from the Doomstar was Nathan. As a result, he's now more depressed and anxious than ever. Trouble then comes when Salacia (Mark Hamill) moves towards his final plan for the Doomstar itself and unlocks his true powers. To stop the end of the world and titular Metalocalypse from happening, Nathan needs to somehow write the "Song of Salvation" with the help of the rest of his brothers and bandmates in Dethklok. 

It really is a much better experience for those who have seen The Doomstar Requiem recently, and Army of the Doomstar doesn't really spend any time in trying to get fans back up to speed. This ends up becoming both a major strength and a hindrance as, while there's no sense of wasted time in the movie's brisk run time, there are a few bits of the Doomstar lore and setup from the TV finale that fill in some of the exposition gaps, or even allusions to prior events. With that said, it's also not too deep of a story that those with lapsed knowledge can't jump in fine. 

That's why it's ultimately important to once again reiterate that Army of the Doomstar is a finale for the Metalocalypse series. It's all just going to vibe better with fans of the original animated series, and it really comes through in that sense. There are payoffs to long-running side character stories, true endings for the characters, grandiose final performances and battles, and there's some great character work here, too. There's a focus on Nathan's character development throughout the movie, and while it means some of Dethklok is pushed to the sidelines (as Toki or Skwisgaar don't really get anything to do), it makes for a much more fulfilling finale. 

Army of the Doomstar is ultimately about how Nathan feels about his role in prophecies, what it means for him in the band, and his lack of self-fulfillment. The longer run time for a single Metalocalypse story means that for once we finally get to see Nathan going through significant development as he realizes what should have been important to him all along. It's not the most in-depth character story, admittedly, but it's a huge shift when you consider that Metalocalypse went from 11-minute episodes, to 22 minutes, to now this 80-plus minute experience. It shows the growth of it all. 

That all comes through in especially how cinematic of an experience it really is, as well. Animation production at Titmouse has led to some of the most brutal and cool-looking sequences in the Metalocalypse franchise. The heavy metal-inspired fantasy sequences are more deathly alive than ever before, colors are deeper, blood is bloodier (with the highest body count yet), and Dethklok's new tracks are fantastic. The "Song of Salvation" properly sounds like one that would save the world, and there's a version of it that's an even more brutal way to end the world instead. Especially with how the movie backs it all up with its animated sequences. 

Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar is a bloody, brutal, and welcome return for the Death Metal-inspired animated series. It serves as the cap to a franchise that has produced tons of brutality throughout its run, and ultimately goes out on a high for fans. For everyone else, it's going to be fairly esoteric but the song performances (combined with the visuals) and brisk run time make it a concert worth buying into. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar releases on digital and Blu-ray on August 22nd.