Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie Will Disappoint Both Die-Hard Fans of The Series and Incoming Fans

Review of Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie 

*Spoilers for seasons 1-5 of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir and Ladybug and Cat Noir: The Movie*

For 8 seasons, fans of the wildly popular French Cartoon (which premieres on Disney Channel in English in the U.S.) Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir have dealt with poor writing, confusing plot points, and countless animation errors.

Despite the more cringeworthy aspects of the show, fans have been unable to resist the compelling “love square” between our main characters as well as convoluted lore that has unraveled as the series progresses. 

Season 5 gave us many anticipated answers to burning questions, some that had formed since the early days of the series. It seems that no matter which plot line you were invested in, from the mysteries of Lila (Lisa Kay Jennings) to Felix’s and Adrien’s (both voiced by Bryce Papenbrook) backstory, there was an episode dedicated to revealing more details.

Being that all of these important revelations were occurring and propelling the series to its next chapter, many thought it was strange that a full length movie chronicling a new origin story for Paris’s favorite superheroes was being released. 

Initially released in France and other select regions in theaters on July 5 and on Netflix internationally July 28, Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie has quickly made an impression on the Miraculous fandom.

Many are applauding the film’s beautiful animation, a striking difference from the usual appearance of Miraculous, and the meticulous directing done by series developer Jeremy Zag of ZAG Animation Studios which co-produces the series. 

Zag also co-wrote the film alongside Bettina Lopez Mendoza. Many fans are also pleased with the creative liberties taken with the characters, particularly Gabriel who appears softer and more sympathetic in this film while still retaining his villainous qualities. 

However, this mix of familiar character arcs and deviations from the original series place Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie in a precarious position where it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. 

The film also upends established in-universe rules that are integral to the fabric of the very concept of the show which disorients new viewers and angers hardcore fans. Especially with the implications of the season 5 finale, this reboot of an already chaotic franchise is not what is needed right now. 

The plot of the film is relatively similar to that of the series. Marinette Dupen-Cheng (Christina Vee), the clumsy daughter of an esteemed community baker, and Adrien Agreste (Bryce Papenbrook) the kind hearted son of a famous fashion designer are chosen to possess magical charms known as the Miraculous that will grant them powers to save the world. 

Unbeknownst to his son, Gabriel Agreste (Keith Silverstein) possesses the Miraculous of the butterfly which he chooses to use for evil purposes after his wife Emile falls ill and passes away, to obtain the ladybug and cat Miraculous which when combined together grant the holder a wish. 

When Gabriel, taking on the evil alias of Hawkmoth, starts weaponizing the negative emotions of Parians to turn them into supervillains, Marinette and Adrien have to suit up as Ladybug and Cat Noir to put a stop to his nefarious actions. 

In addition to now being superheroes tasked with saving all of Paris, it’s a new school year for our teenage protagonists forcing Marinette to come in contact with mean girl Chloe (Selah Victor) and Adrien to come to terms with the loss of his mother. 

Emotions are higher than ever, and as a rule of theater, when emotions are too intense for words, you sing. Yes, Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie is a musical. Perhaps the film is paying homage to the groundbreaking French musical Les Misérables because the characters do not. Stop. Singing. 

The songs are already irritating enough (although Hawkmoth’s song is pretty entertaining) but what’s worse is the singing voice that was chosen for Marinette sounds absolutely nothing like her speaking voice which is insanely distracting. This choice is especially criminal when considering Christina Vee’s vocal talents, there was no reason to have a different singer.

The story being mostly the same would be satisfying if the film didn’t try to cram an entire 5 season arc into an hour and 45 minute film. By the time our superheroes are just getting used to their powers and working together, they’re already in a final battle and shortly thereafter revealing their identities to each other. 

Of course, a reveal of the holder’s identities to each other is something fans have been begging for since the series started and many fans were squealing with delight during the film’s final scene. 

The fact that the reveal happens so quickly however, completely defeats the appeal of the franchise being that viewers have to wait for Ladybug and Cat Noir to know who each other are and once they do, the series can subsequently end.

Many fans speculated that a reveal would happen during the season 5 finale and while Marinette and Gabriel’s secret identities were revealed to each other, it’s safe to say that with another 3 seasons in the works, Marinette and Adrien’s secrets will stay hidden, at least between each other. 

In addition to this major change in pacing, some of the character’s personalities have been altered to coincide with the story the film is trying to tell but most of these changes seem completely unnecessary when the character’s role in the film is unchanged from that in the series. 

Take Alya (Carrie Keranen) for example. Her role in the film is still to be Marinette’s best friend and avid Ladybug fan/reporter. She’s known for her feisty attitude but only towards those who are actively rude to Marinette.

When we meet Alya in the film she’s immediately biting and sarcastic towards Marinette, claiming she’s going to stick by her but only after ridiculing her after an embarrassing run-in with Chloe. 

Marinette herself is shown as a friendless walking catastrophe before Alya even though her classmates have always been friendly to her in the series. We barely get to see the students of Collège Françoise Dupont in the film as they’re practically reduced to cameos. 

Aside from Alya, Nino (Zeno Robinson), Chloe, and Sabrina (Cassandra Lee Morris), the rest of the lovable side characters are barely heard from and are really just treated as Easter eggs for fans of the original series to watch out for. 

Adrien’s personality is also almost completely changed to communicate the film’s themes of grief and how it can manifest. Adrien is far less social in the film, constantly walking around school with headphones in and seems to harbor a lot more anger towards his father and is able to express it freely. 

The season 5 episode “Representation” confirmed what many had theorized about that Adrien is in fact a senti-being created by the peacock Miraculous and that he does not have free will due to the fact that his father wears the ring that contains the power to control his actions. 

It’s implied that Adrien was born human and not created under the influence of the peacock Miraculous in the film. This would explain why the film’s version of Adrien is not “perfect” as series creator Thomas Astruc described on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

When Adrien’s perfection has been drilled into our heads throughout the respective series though, it’s a little unsettling seeing him act as an anti-social, cocky, resentful teenager. 

His cockiness and elevated confidence has always been reserved for Cat Noir as the character’s hero persona served as an outlet for him to express the hidden parts of himself. 

This also represented complete liberation for Adrien as since Gabriel was unaware that his son was Cat Noir, he would not think to try and control him, freeing Adrien from his father’s abusive grasp. 

Cat Noir’s mischievous nature is turned way up, a trait that would originally spawn from Plagg (Max Mittelman) the cat Miraculous’s Kwami (Kwamis are the immortal beings that grant Miraculous holders their powers) but in this film Plagg’s role in to serve as a device for immature jokes to hopelessly try to appeal to any kids who might be interested in the film. 

The tone of the film is nowhere near balanced in part due to the discombobulated pacing. Scenes involving songs drag on for too long and scenes containing actually important information or character growth are cut short.

After Ladybug and Cat Noir warm up to the idea of being superheroes we get a montage of them working together showing Cat Noir’s developing feelings for Ladybug as well as scenes of Marinette, Alya, Nino, and Adrien spending more time together where Marinette slowly falls for Adrien. 

The love square being a crucial aspect of Miraculous as a whole is still a prominent part of the film but because its been reduced to a shorter run time fans aren’t treated to the prolonged development of Marinette and Adriens relationship as well as their relationship to each other at Ladybug and Cat Noir.

The minimizing of such an integral part of what makes Miraculous so enticing is deeply upsetting and makes for a less interesting story comparatively. 

Of course, the film was expected to take its own liberties with the story and characters but this re-imagining actually hurts the film’s objective to create a new and exciting story that will introduce new fans into the already bustling fandom. 

If fans of the movie gain interest in the series, they’re already going to have to get used to the fact that the animation is seriously downgraded. Imagine the fact that they’ll also see completely different personalities portrayed in the series than what was introduced to them in the film. 

Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie could’ve been a delicately animated refreshing take on already established and beloved characters. Instead what we’re settled with is a dull and confusing film that distracts from the very purpose of its source material. 

The film’s animation is undoubtedly spectacular but besides that, and the fact that this film accomplished an identity reveal in under 2 hours while the show has been building to it for 5 seasons now, there is really nothing that Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie adds to this already expansive universe.