Updated date:

Cake's Takes on Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms (Movie Review), (2021)

Caila went to Meremac-STL for journalism and has been writing for most of her life.

The Battle of the Realms

The promotional release photo for the 2021 animated film.

The promotional release photo for the 2021 animated film.

The Final Mortal Kombat Tournament

The movie continues to use its animation to the best of their abilities again in this film, as with the last movie. The opening logo credits to these movies with WB Animation mixing up some of the characters they have access to is a really cool detail to add to the films to make it more fun! The film sets up with a couple being killed and Lord Raiden coming down to help them out of nowhere. It's immediately gory and a few cool kills, but does anybody else get the feeling that Lord Raiden is always a day late and a dollar short? Almost to the point where it's on purpose! As the film goes on, Raiden and Earthrealm are challenged to a Final Mortal Kombat Tournament in order to merge the realms into one and rule over them.

A Final Mortal Kombat Tournament is definitive and prominent, yet dull at the same time. It feels like we've seen it before, but for it to be a final shot for Shao Khan, it raises the stakes for the competition. Proposed by Shao Khan, whose character they got totally right art-wise and with the voice acting, it is the same thing we've seen before in the games, just updated for really good animation. Shao Khan looks fierce. He sounds intimidating. He is strong! He comes off as the final boss that he is! This is a great plus for the film!

Big Bad

One of the main villains of the entire Mortal Kombat franchise, Shao Khan.

One of the main villains of the entire Mortal Kombat franchise, Shao Khan.

So Many Bad Guys

I did not realize that this movie would have so many major villains in it. It comes across as a lot when you add the overlying story of many characters and the tournament story itself. It is a load of backstory. Shinnok, a fallen Elder God, is scheming as well, but for something different. With the many faces, names, and going back through the history of the MK timeline so quickly is great and terrible at the same time. Some of the things that happen seem like they were made for another film entirely. There is not enough time for some things to be explained and things happen off camera or in between films, so you don't always know what is going on.

Seeing what Lord Raiden has to sacrifice in assurance of the safety of Earthrealm is astonishing and it gives you the feeling of "This Better Work!" A few characters are reintroduced from the video games to the big screen in Stryker and D'Vorah! Stryker even being there, to me, was astonishing because they gave no backstory whatsoever about why or how he got there other than simply being invited. We already have a dazed, confused, audience avatar character in Johnny Cage, which worked very well in the first movie, so we did not need another one in this film. It is, however, extremely cool to see D'Vorah on screen as a character! She has always intrigued me in the games, as she follows her own will and always sides with who she thinks is going to win.

Earthrealm's Finest

The heroes chosen to defend Earthrealm from Outworld and the Netherrealm.

The heroes chosen to defend Earthrealm from Outworld and the Netherrealm.


As the movie goes on, we get more fight scenes. Classic Mortal Kombat style with great kills, insane injuries and other things that will gross you out about the body. Some combat and infamous Fatalities come straight from the video games and some are new and innovative. When the ninjas all start fighting it gets a bit chaotic, but in a fun way. It is always good to see Scorpion and Sub-Zero fight over a misunderstanding or grander scheme. Besides, we don't get to see enough of the actual tournament itself, which you thought was what this movie was about, so these fights are fun to watch.

The kombat is definitely the highlight of the film, because the rest of the movie just happens because... plot, or because it's supposed to. Johnny Cage, who was great in the first film, was barely a character in this one. Joel McHale has really found a special way to bring Johnny Cage to life and it's very good! He seemed more annoying and less funny than the last movie and only became less annoying toward the end of the movie. He was definitely cooler in the first film. I did like, however, how they grew his and Sonya's love story throughout this movie though. It was cute to see, a puppy love forming.

By the time the second plot converges with the first one fully, the movie is almost over. It's so badly integrated with the main plot of the tournament, that I literally almost forgot that Shinnok was in the movie and what he was doing the entire time of his scheme. It just came across as being quickly thrown into the story. It never even seemed complete. The ending of the film, although it felt rushed, it did work for me, because it was something that was setup from the last movie and one of the latest video game plots. A Kaiju fight comes out of nowhere and I almost wished it had been normal sized people fighting, but it was still exciting, nonetheless.

My Final Thoughts...

This movie suffered, to me, from seemingly being rushed through production and no real work with the storyline from the writers. I would love to know what Shinnok's thoughts were while planning the end of the realms, as I have the same question for all supervillains who want to destroy the universe: Where are you going to go and what are you going to do after the universe is destroyed?! It made no sense. The movie took a few plots from the Mortal Kombat video game timeline and put them together in a weird way in this film. Had they balanced the plots better, I think this could have made a great solid film! Or they could have separated it and made it into 2 films with this movie's main plot of the Final Mortal Kombat Tournament being the first film, and the Shinnok side plot as the next film. Although this movie did try to do something different and was less generic than the first film, I did not like this movie as much as I liked Mortal Kombat: Scorpion's Revenge. However, it still had an authentic Mortal Kombat feel to it all the way through, with the obnoxious and crazy characters, the demented action and kills, and the different realm settings.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms (Movie Review Poll), (2021)

This Movie is a... Gem!

Where You Can Watch...

  • HBO Max
    Say hello to HBO Max, the streaming platform that bundles all of HBO together with even more of your favorite movies and TV series, plus new Max Originals.

Related Articles