This modern take on Lupin the Third is shallow fun (think Indiana Jones + Sherlock Holmes) but features a stereotypical cast of misfits who reinforce gender norms. Of course, most of these characters were originally conceived decades ago -- but, still, updates to character designs might have elevated this pop quiz of an anime. The original Lupin III appeared in a 1967 Manga series by Monkey Punch (the pen name for Kazuhiko Katō). Over the decades since, many iterations of Lupin III have entertained fans in print, TV series, and animated movies. Lupin III: The First is the brand's first foray into CGI, delivering action and new character stylizations with visual panache. The move to computer generated animation does make Lupin, the cast, and Europe far more cartoony than realistic. While the plot is standard action-adventure fare, it's delivered gleefully and quickly. There are Nazis to fight, a plan of world domination to halt, and a powerful unknown technology to destroy, but the biggest drama involves Laetitia discovering who her "real" family is. The film privileges biological family, situating Laetitia's adoptive grandfather as evil and her biological grandfather as good. Thus, her "real" family is who she truly "is," which is a popular norm that many adoptive families encounter and must find ways to reconcile or explain.
This take also sees Lupin appear smoother, younger, and without his typical cigarette or alcoholic drink. Lupin's friends, however, take up their already well-established roles -- though they also feel somewhat flat. They don't get any proper introduction or explication, easily appear when Lupin is in a jam, and just as easily disappear when Lupin needs the narrative to move forward. They aren't fully worked into the plot. Some fans of the franchise might feel annoyed at this lack of exposition for these well-known friends. To newcomers, they may serve as evidence that Lupin isn't a selfish idiot (which is the first impression that he gives) and actually has friends who care for him. Lupin may also first come across as snarky and selfish, but midway through, his goodness and playfulness feel more comfortable and his bravery seems less brash. He's like a mix of Robin Hood and Spike from Cowboy Bebop (even though the latter was published after the original Lupin III Manga).