Let’s get this out of the way up front: It’s not that Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is a bad movie. Far from it. But when Brotherhood set the bar so high, this movie (which takes place in the middle of the series, chronologically) had a tough act to follow.
The Sacred Star of Milos focuses on the land of Creta, which is west of the area in which the bulk of the series takes place. A town of outcasts finds itself caught in the middle of a power struggle between two nations — and, as is typical in the FMA world, nobody can place nice when power is involved.
One thing that fans will notice early on is that their favorite characters not named “Elric” don’t get a ton of screen time here. Mustang is on the cover of the movie and shows up in a few scenes with Hawkeye, but his role is limited and his one action scene happens off screen. Armstrong shows up and has exactly one line and zero sparkles. Winry tags along to do her usual thankless work to fix Edward, but she’s largely forgotten in the grand scheme of things.
In their place, a few new characters get the bulk of the attention, specifically the brother and sister tandem of Ashleigh and Julia Creighton. They’re caught in the middle of a search for a power source that sounds suspiciously like a Philosopher’s Stone. Without going into too much detail (yes, even movies that came out a year ago still get spoiler-free treatment from me), allegiances change, loyalties are called into question, and a lot of people die. This is Fullmetal Alchemist, after all.
I’m not saying I expected a continuation of Brotherhood or anything. New characters and settings can usually work to add depth to a story. The problem with The Sacred Star of Milos is that everything just feels…off. The animation isn’t quite as slick as the regular series, and the setting doesn’t do it any favors — be prepared for a lot of dark, drab set pieces involved caves and other underground areas. All your favorite voice actors are back to reprise their roles, but as mentioned before, those roles are limited. Hell, even the Elric brothers get put on the back burner pretty frequently.
Milos essentially functions as a way for Fullmetal fans to get their fix after the conclusion of Brotherhood, which was nothing short of a masterpiece. It succeeds at building its own story and is certainly enjoyable to watch, but it feels like a hollow shell of its predecessor. Shaun had perhaps the most telling take on the whole thing once the movie was over, saying that it really just made him want to go back and watch Brotherhood again. It’s hard to argue with him on that.