In an unusual move from Marvel Studios and Disney, they put out a “Special Presentation,” which is just one extended episode compared to the usual six or nine-episode format they have followed for all of their previous shows, with “Werewolf by Night.”
Directed by the composer of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “The Batman,” Michael Giacchino visually composed something riveting yet wholesome with this roughly 50-minute mini-movie where a group of hunters fight for a precious gem off of a monster. But it doesn’t turn out that simple as more monsters come into the foray in the journey to claim the Bloodstone.
No need for any major tie-ins with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or a post-credit scene at the end of it teasing Kang the Conqueror. The first-ever Marvel Studios Special Presentation is a self-contained story, and it worked tremendously well without any need for the Avengers to save the day.
The classic black and white and old-fashioned style throughout the short movie set the tone right away that viewers are in for a horror genre treat. The storytelling, in the beginning, was set up unlike other Marvel Studios shows and movies, almost like a storybook you would see in “Shrek.”
The first major spotlight in “Werewolf by Night” is Jack Russell, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, who not only takes the spotlight of the show with his cunning personality but also because he eventually turns into the aforementioned werewolf that helps to break himself and another new character out of a cage.
This new character that did a phenomenal job in setting up a relationship with Jack is Elsa Bloodstone, played by Laura Donnelly, and it helps that the actress has had prior werewolf film experience. Elsa became a character to watch out for right away, and her serious demeanor worked well in this movie.
A major theme with Marvel Studios productions is the balance of humor and serious action, which works pretty well most of the time. “Werewolf by Night” is no exception. The fight scenes are pretty brutal for Disney’s standards with Marvel productions, but when characters are having a chat, there’s still time for them to throw in a little humor.
But the star of the show is not even a human, but rather the main monster featured in the movie. Man-Thing made his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and for a creature of very few words, his attitude and actions throughout the movie can please any comic book movie viewer. And with rumors of Man-Thing returning in future Marvel productions, it’s clear the creature has already become a fan favorite.
The best part of the whole movie is Jack and Man-Thing having their casual conversations with each other since they are technically friends. It seems so ridiculous, but if you have been keeping up with everything the MCU has to offer, it’s just another normal day.
Verussa, played by Harriet Sansom Harris, definitely embraced her character as a serious and angry old woman who is looking to keep order around the coveted Bloodstone. But when she got into the thick of it with the werewolf-transformed Jack, it was pretty exciting to see her character in trouble.
With this specific show, the gore was rampant throughout, and it was a welcome addition with future movies like “Blade” and “Deadpool 3” on the way. Arms were chopped off, bodies were burned and ears were eaten off clean in “Werewolf by Night.” Hopefully, Marvel Studios keeps this going with the Disney CEO pushing for more adult content on their streaming platform.
All in all, Giacchino’s directorial debut was stellar, and the story created was something compelling and fun to watch during this spooky fall season. If you need something different to watch and are also a fan of Marvel, “Werewolf by Night” should definitely be your cup of tea. Or if you’re Man-Thing, your cup of blood.