…That would be a fair assessment for the film, which sets up for a sequel.
As was the case with the Attack on Titan movies before it (Filmed as one movie but was later cut in two, mind you), the FMA live action movie tried to do too much at the same time. Much of it has to do with the MASSIVE amount of story content from the source material: The Manga and the second Anime Series Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Unlike the first FMA Anime, FMA:B actually follows the storyline from the Manga. The first Anime series loosely follows the Manga at first but then switches to an original storyline.
The Live Action FMA movie is a mixed bag. On the one hand, they character portrayals were mostly accurate. The main problem is the hard to follow plot and mostly because certain key characters are absent–presumably being saved for the sequel–and it hurt the flow of the movie. It was obvious the story had been intentionally written with certain notable characters being absent and unmentioned.
…Who am I talking about?
- King Bradley: Come on. Conspiracy within the State Military and Bradley’s not even mentioned?! They could have given him a cameo just like they did in the Manga and FMA:B. They simply don’t let on his real identity is all they needed to do.
- Ling: The Crown Prince of Xing. His importance is revealed later, more so when it relates to a certain Homunculus.
- Greed: Before he was merged with Ling, he was a certified badass. After the merger, he was even more badass even before he got his memories back. That said, his absence makes sense given both Ling and Bradley are absent.
- Major Alex Louis Armstrong: His omission is suspect but makes sense given his importance in regards to the Ishvalan Civil War. Besides, you can’t include Armstrong without also including this other guy.
- Scar: I’ll give credit where it’s due in how they managed to close out the movie without him. I do suspect he was left out on purpose to avoid having to film Nina/Alexander’s death. That and his connection to Winry’s parents.
- Pinako Rockbell: Winry’s grandmother is absent but it makes sense given she’s in Resembol (Winry, Edward and Al’s hometown) while Winry travels to meet up with Ed and Al.
- Izumi Curtis: Ed and Al’s Alchemy teacher. I would be surprised if she doesn’t at least get mentioned later.
- Van Hoenhiem: Another omission that makes sense given he can’t be featured without this other guy getting a mention.
- Father/Dwarf in the Flask: The being behind the curtain. He set things in motion so it makes sense his reveal would come much later.
On the one hand, all of these are major characters. On the other hand, they did an impressive job leaving all of them out. Especially Bradley. It was pretty interesting Gluttony’s Secret was casually revealed without explaination though. I mean the fact that he’s actually a failed attempt at making a Portal of Truth. Envy’s True form being left out makes a certain amont of sense. The showdown between Mustang and Lust was spontaneous due to the absence of Jean Havoc (Riza Hawkeye is the only one who made the cut). It lacked the emotional impact provided in the Manga and Anime. Of course, that’s the case with many plot points throughout the movie due to the changes made due to certain characters being absent from the movie.
…If it sounds confusing, that’s because it is. Like I said before, they tried to do too much in this movie. I am almost afraid to see the sequel when and if it actually happens.