'Lupin III: The First' - Movie Review

In 1905, French writer Maurice Leblanc created the character "Arsène Lupin," a "gentleman thief" - at the time Lupin may have been seen as something of a counterpoint to Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes." Lupin proved a popular character, appearing in 17 novels and 39 novellas (source: Wikipedia on Arsène Lupin). In 1967, Japanese author "Monkey Punch" (a pen name, of course) created the manga character Lupin the Third (grandson of the French Lupin) - who's had a greater effect on popular culture, as the world is still making movies about Lupin the Third.

I've never read the manga, but it appears the cast of characters are the same - and they all appear in pretty much every episode. Lupin himself, who is a very skilled thief whose hiests inevitably become entangled in morally dubious situations, where Lupin feels compelled to do the morally correct thing rather than the more financially rewarding thing. Lupin's best friend is Daisuke Jigen, an expert marksman. Goemon - a stoic modern-day samurai whose sword (as Wikipedia puts it, accurately enough) "will cut anything" occasionally claims not to be their partner - and yet he's always there. They invariably run afoul of Fujiko Mine, a voluptuous and somewhat less morally upright thief than Lupin who is always trying to steal the same thing (and often succeeding). And finally, there's Inspector Zenigata - who is always a step or two behind Lupin, his life-long enemy ... sometimes he catches Lupin, but it never sticks. Sometimes because Zenigata lets Lupin go because releasing him will result in a better moral outcome.

This 2019 movie (the first CGI Lupin movie - all the previous ones have been hand-drawn) was loosely based on Hayao Miyazaki's now-classic Lupin tale, "Castle of Cagliostro" (which I consider one of Miyazaki's poorer outings). I'd say it's better than that, but hardly great. It's goofy, throw-away fun.