Review: Werewolf by Night

Marvel Studios recently released a Halloween special presentation title “Werewolf by Night” based on its lesser known and popular monster and horror related properties. There has been some criticism of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and its seemingly lack of direction. I vehemently disagree with this critique because for one there is a direction for Phase Four and, two, there was more allowance of build up and teasing in the earlier phases when the primary cast were white men. It is not surprising that these critiques are lauded against the current phase which has centered and focused primarily women and non white characters.

Personally, I am enjoying Phase Four exactly because of those critiques. The focus on non white, non male characters allow for the exploration of different perspectives and experiences that were not present in the other phases. The supposed lack of concrete direction allows for the exploration of various areas and corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is why we are getting multiverse stories and the inclusion of elements like magic and parallel dimensions and, yes, even the supernatural through hell and demons and gods (beyond the Norse aliens of Asgard).

Plus, c’mon anything that gives us more Gael Garcia Bernal is a positive.

And Werewolf by Night is exactly the kind of production that could only exist in this phase of the MCU. It is a comic book story about a secret society of eccentric/stereotypical monster hunters competing for a magical stone of unknown origin that bestows several powers and abilities upon its bearer along with the position of leader of their organization. Of course, there is an infiltrator among them (hence the title) that will result in their eventual doomed fate.

This special is a pretty standard creature feature of the past with aesthetic choices, camera angles, music selection, etc. And the tone just works perfectly. Werewolf by Night is exactly what the MCU should have moving forward. An allowance of very niche, random comic book characters like ManThing, Jack Russell, Ella Bloodstone, etc. to have insular stories that add to and enhance and enlarge the Marvel Universe with low stakes that are still stylistics and engaging. Should this be the entirety of the MCU moving forward? Absolutely not. Should there be productions and stories like it? Most definitely. The inclusion of productions like Werewolf by Night are a positive for the MCU and its future.

Seriously, ManThing is in live action and is awesome!

So, if you are in the mood for something for the spooky season or another quality Marvel production or just a fun creature story special, this one fits the bill. Watch it and feed the algorithm to get more films and series and specials like it in the future.

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