One of the biggest criticisms leveled at the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now is that everything is way too similar. Even the producers and directors seem to have noticed this themselves and are trying to impress the audience with surprises. But it all works more badly than right, as you can see in examples like “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “She-Hulk”. Werewolf by Night shows how it can be done better. In the special, which is just one hour long, the Marvel formula is properly turned through the meat grinder.
The story of Werewolf by Night is quickly told. After the legendary monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone died, several members of his profession should be fighting for the successor and the legendary bloodstone. All they have to do is kill a horrible monster into which the stone has been embedded. One of the hunters is Jack Russel, who, however, has a secret of his own. And he’s not the only shady character. One of his rivals is none other than Elsa Bloodstone, Ulysse’s daughter and the original heir to the Bloodstone.
From this simple premise, Werewolf by Night makes a very fun hour of film, which is deliberately intended to be reminiscent of the old horror classics from Hammer and Universal Studios. Almost the entire movie is done in black and white, which not only keeps the nostalgia factor up, but also avoids showing too much blood, of which there is quite a bit in the movie.
Rumor has it that this is why Werewolf by Night barely got an age rating of 16, despite having limbs severed, heads ripped off and vampire hunters melting. Nevertheless, the film in the MCU is so far unique. All past projects have always received a rating of 12 or less.
“From 16” doesn’t detract from the film itself. The actors enjoy being in a scary movie from the good old days and director Michael Giacchino you can’t tell that Werewolf by Night is his first film. So far he has mainly made soundtracks. What I particularly like: At the end of the action-packed and at times quite funny hour, you definitely want more and don’t feel overwhelmed, as with many other overly long films and series from Phase 4.
Guest appearances, cameos and more (spoiler zone)
While Werewolf by Night could easily stand on its own, the film wouldn’t be a full part of the MCU without cameo appearances and some nods to the larger Marvel Universe. First, there’s Jack Russel himself, who plays the eponymous werewolf. Incidentally, the comic Werewolf by Night also contains the first appearance of Moon Knight. Contrary to various rumours, he, like Blade, does not play a role in the film. More important is Man-Thing, a swamp monster and Marvel’s answer to DC’s Swamp Thing. Because Man-Thing, or “Ted”, as Jack calls the actually quite lovable monster, is the creature that the monster hunters have to hunt down.
A big advantage that all the allusions and guest appearances in Werewolf by Night have: Unlike most other projects in Marvel’s Phase 4, they don’t have a negative effect on the plot. The film is connected just enough to the MCU to be perceived as a part of it, but has enough tension of its own to appeal to those who don’t really know anything about Marvel and Co. Marvel fans, on the other hand, will be happy that future MCU films and specials will also be possible, in which things can also be a bit rough.
Running for just under an hour, Werewolf by Night is the perfect start for any Halloween movie party or scary movie night. Only the age rating of the Marvel special should be observed in any case, so that young and faint-hearted Marvel fans don’t get a shock at the end.