Movie Review – League of Legends Origins

TL;DR – An interesting look at the rise of one of the world’s most played video games, even if there are a few rough edges to the presentation.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

League of Legends Origins. Image Credit: Riot Games.

Review

When you think about sporting spectacles, you think about Wimbledon, or Superbowl, or The Olympics. However, as time is going on, Esports is a growing phenomenon drawing in more people and more money than ever before. In this world of Esports, one of the biggest and fastest-growing games is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that goes by the name League of Legends. This documentary explores the history of Riot Games’ League of Legends, its growth and its potential future.

The fact that a game created in 2006 is still around today, is one of those quirks that rarely happens in the video games industry, the fact that it continues to be one of the most popular games in the world makes it more so. For that very reason alone, it makes this documentary interesting because it is really engaging watching a game go from being working out of a basement to having a grand final in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. This is coming from someone who does not actually play the game. I have tried to get into MOBAs like LOL and DOTA before and while I like watching them be played but I have no skill in playing them.

League of Legends Origins. Image Credit: Riot Games.
From small things, big things grow. Image Credit: Riot Games.

Watching the ebbs and flows of the game being developed, the highs of release and the lows of internet crashes, it was all really absorbing. Part of that is because they have really interviewed a lot of people from the co-founders to casters to players to the fans themselves. This gives the documentary a really interesting dichotomy as it bounces from one perspective to the next. It also means you get to interview some of the big players in the League scene like Ocelote, but then also get to address some of the past issues. Also talking to the fans and players lets you talk about the dynamics of the games such as those moments that you will never forget. Even for someone who is not as up to date with League, watching that crazy play to take out the Nexus gave me goosebumps. Indeed, this is one of the strengths of Esports because you get those moments that you just won’t forget.    

From a production perspective the film works perfectly fine, it flows very well always knowing when to cut to the next story or interviewee. The music is interesting, all the interviews are well-staged, but there is a very formulaic kind of feeling that you get in places. Where you can kind of pick where things are going before they get there by the way the narrative or composition is leading. But then it is better to be formulaic and competent than being a mess. However, while this is a documentary about Riot Games and League of Legends, there were some moments when it felt less like a documentary and more like an advertisement. I mean not as bad as Enter the Anime, but it was still noticeable. Thankfully whenever this started to happen they would soon cut to talk to the fans about their community and it is here where we get some of the more touching stories of the documentary and I think a little bit more time could have been focused on them.      

League of Legends Origins. Image Credit: Riot Games.
Some of the best parts of the documentary was when they focused on the fans and their stories. Image Credit: Riot Games.

It is actually interesting watching the course of Riot Games develop throughout the documentary. I think few games developers these days could get away with dropping ‘games as a service’ and not invoke an immediate eye-roll. Indeed, as monetarization practices go League has one of the better policies in modern gaming. But it is always interesting to watch a sequence when people rightly (or wrongly I was not there so I don’t know) on a former partner in such an open manner. It was in this framework where the documentary showed its strengths and its weaknesses.

In some case it was very open and transparent with their failures discussing really embarrassing moments in their history or the toxicity that existed around the game. However, there are some aspects of the company and its rise, like claims of institutionalised sexism, which are noticeably absent from the documentary, even though this was news outside of gaming circles. It was frankly disappointing given there were numerous times when it could have been discussed.

League of Legends Origins. Image Credit: Riot Games.
I liked its exploration of Esports and its continued growth. Image Credit: Riot Games.

In the end, do we recommend League of Legends Origins? Yes we would. While there are some issues, this was a really compelling look at one of the biggest video games at time of writing. I mean it was fun just to hear about how they were almost screwed over by Eyjafjallajökull. Are Esports a phenomena that will continue to grow, I don’t know, but I am happy to be a part of it if even tangentially.      

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched League of Legends Origins?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
 


Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of League of Legends Origins
Directed by
– Leslie Iwerks
Music by – Joel Goodman, Dimitris Mann & Benjamin Krause
Cinematography by – Jonathan Ingalls & Suki Medencevic
Edited by – Ian Arthur, Mark Catalena & Jason Decker
Production/Distribution Companies – Iwerks & Co., Riot Games & Netflix
Starring – Brandon Beck, Marc Merrill, Tom Cadwell, Steven Snow, Colt Hallam, Paul Bellezza, David Banks, Jeff Jew, Jonathan McCaffrey, Travis Gafford, Jatt, Christina Norman, Steve Mescon, Min Kim, Chris Enock, Thomas Vu, Scott Gelb, Hermann Peterscheck, Cass Marshall, Nicolo Laurent, Riv, Phreak, Bridget Davidson, Raph Koster, Jon Oh, Jun Seok Nam, Dustin Beck, Whalen Rozelle, Travis Gafford, Nich Allen, Deman, DJ Wheat, Ariel Horn, Sjokz, Lemonnation, Ocelote, Snoopeh, Crisis Wi, Chris Kluwe, Scarra, Pokimane, Kim Voll, Stephen Lim, and the many players, hosts, and interviewees over the years
Rating – Around an Australia: M;

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.