Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese live action adaptation of the manga by Hiromu Arakawa. The film is produced by Warner Bros. Japan & directed by Fumihiko Sori. The film stars Ryosuke Yamada, Tsubasa Honda, Dean Fujioka & Yasuko Matsuyuki.
In the beginning of the 20th Century, in a reality where alchemy is real, extremely developed & respected. The plot features brothers Edward & Alphonse Elric, who, after attempting the forbidden technique of human transmutation, suffer the consequences. Alphonse loses his entire body while Edward loses his left leg. Edward then sacrifices his right arm to save his brother's soul by attaching it to a metal suit of armor. Edward is then given mechanical prosthetics known as "automail" in place of his missing arm & leg. Upon acceptance into the State Alchemists, he is given the nickname "Fullmetal Alchemist", all while searching with Alphonse for the legendary Philosopher's Stone, that will repair their bodies.
- Similar to many bad Japanese live action anime that came before, it completely changes the races of most European characters into Asians similar to The Last Airbender. The casting is even critizised by Seiji Mizushima, the director of the original 2003 anime of the same name.
- It completely rushed too many storylines into one film.
- Much like the 2-part film adaptation of Attack On Titan, it removes several major characters in the story such as Alex Louis Armstrong, Scar, King Bradley, Izumi Curtis, Van Hohenheim & even Father.
- Poor incoherent writing.
- Ryosuke Yamada, Dean Fujioka & Tsubasa Honda are all seriously miscast as Edward Elric, Roy Mustang & Winry Rockbell respectively, since they look nothing like their original counterparts. Their actors even made terrible performances as their respective characters as well.
- Bad & terrible special effects such as the alchemy effects, Lust's claws, the poor design of Nina's Chimera form, Gluttony's Gate Form & the Mannequin Homunculi. Even the Transmutation Circle & the Ouroboros tattoos are poorly made.
- Improper lighting sequence, notably in the scene of a transmutated Nina being set in a sunny day instead of a stormy night similar to the original.
- Similar to The Amazing Spider Man 2, it addresses Lust, Envy & Gluttony as the main antagonists but Shou Tucker & General Hakuro are acting in the entire film as if their the main antagonists, also making the film's real main antagonist very confusing and feels like a rejected segment.
- Horrible portrayals of the entire cast up to the point they felt completely flanderized and don't act like their original counterparts at all:
- Edward Elric is now a bland, boring character who lacked the charisma of the original. Due to being cast by an adult, he lost all of his humor of being shorter than his younger brother.
- Alphonse Elric barely does anything in the entire film due to his expensive CGI & felt like a bad rip-off of Baymax. Even the duo with his own brother is butchered.
- Winry Rockbell is changed from a strong female role model into a whiny damsel in distress who always hangs out with Ed & Al, even having more screen-time than Al's, which is not how she acted in the original source material. Her misogynic portrayal is very similar to Kiko Mizushima's portrayal of Mikasa Ackerman.
- Roy Mustang is turned into a stereotypical gatecrashing military officer similar to Major Lennox from Transformers but dumber.
- Lust is changed into a stereotypical female villain cliche.
- Shou Tucker, a controversial character, a minor antagonist & one of anime's most hated characters of all time, is depicted as a villain wannabe mad scientist & a hostage taker who conspires with his superior General Hakuro. Unlike previous anime adaptations, he has much more screentime in this film, which is insulting to the fans of the original.
- General Hakuro, who is loosely based on the minor character Halcrow, is written as one of the main antagonists conspiring with Shou Tucker.
- Father Cornello is an even bigger coward in this film than past adaptations.
- Very poor grasp of the original source material: It got most of the entire storyline wrong:
- The Promised Day is not involved in the film despite being a major plot point.
- Edward chases Father Cornello in the streets of Liore & fights his rock monsters in public. In the original, the Elric brothers fought a chimera (resembling the Greek monster of the same name) owned by Cornello inside Leto's church.
- Cornello took a civilian hostage in public whereas in the original he is tricked by Edward into accidentally broadcasting his evil plans on live radio.
- Roy Mustang & his team intervenes on the Liore incident, which never really happened in the original.
- Winry Rockbell keeps on accompanying the Elric Brothers while in the source material, she would only confront them if Ed's automail is broken.
- Lust kills off Dr. Tim Marcoh, who is a MAJOR CHARACTER in both the manga & 2009 anime.
- Envy impersonates Roy Mustang instead of Gracia Hughes when he killed off Maes Hughes. Even Roy Mustang is framed instead of Maria Ross, whom Envy framed in the original.
- Shou Tucker took both Al & Winry hostage after he transmuted his own daughter. This never happened in the original, but instead could have been poorly adapted from a scene exclusive to the 2003 anime where Barry the Chopper kidnaps Winry and attempts to kill Ed when he arrives to rescue her. It also rips off the scene the Gold Toothed Doctor took Riza Hawkeye hostage, which happens late in the original manga & 2009 anime.
- It is Shou Tucker who suggested to Al that he could be artificially created instead of Barry the Chopper, who is absent from the film.
- Lust is easily killed off by Roy Mustang by just pulling off her Philosopher's Stone while in the original, it took him SEVERAL TIMES roasting her to death to fully drain her regenerative abilities. The same goes for Envy, who is easily reduced into his parasitic form.
- The Mannequin Soldiers arrived way too early in the story.
- Terrible costume designs such as the Elric brothers' hairs, Lust's clothes & Envy's terrible hair that look like a badly made dreadlocks.
- Maes Hughes' death scene is less emotional than in the original.
- Tons of plotholes such as Nina Tucker's whereabouts after she was transmuted into a chimera by her own father.
- This adaptation even makes the later half of the 2003 anime looked better in comparison, and that's the one where Maes Hughes' real-world counterpart is a NAZI SOLDIER.
- It is even distributed by Netflix to promote the film despite not even learning from their past mistake, thus leading fans to blame them instead of Fumihiko Sori, the REAL perpetrator of this film.
- To add further insult, it is currently spawning a 2-part sequel which not only looked bad but horrible as well.
- Yasuko Matsuyuki, Kanata Hongou & Shinji Uchiyama made good performances as the Homunculi Lust, Envy & Gluttony.
- Gluttony can be creepy at times despite his bad CGI effects.
- The film did manage to shoot in the Italian town of Volterra & the entire European setting is still intact.
- Alphonse's design & height is faithful to the original manga & anime.
- English dub voice actors Vic Mignogna, Caitlin Glass & Aaron Dismuke all reprised their respective roles for the English dub of the film.
The film received mostly mixed reviews to negative reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 28% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 18 reviews, with an average rating of 4.82/10. On Metacritic, which assigns and normalizes scores of critic reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100 based on 5 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
While the film is given a positive review from Japanese critics, it received negative reviews from Western critics & fans alike.