I’ve recently dissed Marvel movies and TV shows in this very blog. The truth is I actually like most of their movies. I am a fan of the MCU. What I’m not a fan of is how they’ve basically pushed everybody else out of the sandbox. The cinematic landscape has changed dramatically since Iron Man (2008) first landed in cinemas. I live in a small town. We have one movie theatre. It only shows big-budget, blockbuster-type movies. I yearn for the days of mid-budget, smaller films that weren’t about superheroes and saving the world.
Yes, I can get those through Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO and the like. No, it is not the same. And Disney is doing their best to take over the television as well.
While I do like a lot of the MCU I have to admit I’m growing tired of it. I saw the new Dr. Strange movie in the theater when it came out. I mostly liked it. But it also felt like I had to do homework before I watched it. You really need to have seen the previous Dr. Strange movies, the last Spider-Man movie, and the entire season of Wandavision for it to make sense. And like all Marvel movies these days it spent part of its runtime setting up movies that haven’t come out yet. That’s a lot to ask for what should be a dumb summertime popcorn flick.
But like I keep saying, I do like a lot of the Marvel stuff, and I enjoy watching them with my family. Enter Werewolf by Night.
Pleasantly this is a film that essentially exists on its own. It is mostly in black and white and it has a unique visual style. The plot isn’t amazing, but it is fun and exciting. It involves a group of monster hunters who have gathered to mourn their fallen leader and to fight for his throne and some magic hubajoob.
The magic thingy is placed on a big, bad monster and the group must find and slay the beast inside a maze of buildings and capture the stone. Oh, and it is totally okay to kill each other too. There are two fighters who do not belong. The first is the daughter of the fallen leader (Laura Donnelly) who wants the magic stone so she can rid herself of her evil family once and for all. The other is someone (Gael Garcia Bernal) with a dark, mysterious secret.
It exists inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but you could easily watch this film without having seen anything else in the MCU. There aren’t any callbacks and it doesn’t push toward another sequel. I imagine if it is popular enough they will probably throw these characters into another story, or give it a sequel, but for now it is nice that it exists on its own. Like all Marvel things, it is full of action and humor. I don’t mean to pretend this is some brilliant new thing they are doing. But it feels different enough to make it refreshing before jumping back into another Thor or Spider-Man movie.