At the same time, the film did manage to effectively mirror some of the series’ dramatic pacing -- Ed’s conversations with Al and Mustang, and the time spent on anime’s trademark melodramatic philosophical meanderings, felt very true to the cartoons. And yet, it left the film feeling both too short and too long at the same time. Even in movies, the laws of equivalent exchange apply: you can’t get out any more, or any less, than what you put in.
What Fullmetal Alchemist accomplishes remarkably, though, is establishing itself both as a standalone entity and a launching point for a future potential series, thanks in part to a savvy post-credits scene. While parts of the political intrigue and Elric body quest plotlines satisfyingly wrap up, they are certainly not concluded. Even for skeptics, the possibility of the Elrics learning more about the creator of the homunculi, and the prospect of seeing Wrath, Sloth, Pride, and Greed make appearances, should be a hook in another entry for any potential franchise. As long as the film’s heart stays strong enough to overcome any obstacle.