One word that fully encompasses Teen Wolf: The Movie: underwhelming. While Teen Wolf is a beloved fandom, and many of us anticipated an overwhelming reunion, the reality is that the film’s plot and cinematic choices fell short. From an anticlimactic villain to a lack of actual dialogue, the film’s execution did not convey the urgency of an action-packed adventure but rather an unusual comedy.
We break down the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding the film below!
While I could list far more not-so-good moments from the film, I’ll start a little more on a positive note. The film was unintentionally funny as f*ck. Honestly, Jackson’s one-liners and quippy anecdotes probably saved most of the film from being a complete bore. Especially when the unfortunately dull villain listed how brutally he was wronged, Jackson kindly reminded him he was not in Beacon Hills for any of that. Also, that little apple bite moment? A lovely little ode to the series.
Jackson wasn’t the only character bringing the laughs; everyone dished out a bit. Eli, Coach, and Derek brought quite the comedic relief through Eli’s lack of talent on the field and through some McCall playing time. One thing is for sure, Coach hasn’t changed a bit, and I’m glad. Speaking of Hale’s, I think it’s fair to say that their dynamic has changed immeasurably and also not at all.
Derek Hale is a dad and a damn good one at that. We’ve seen throughout the show how caring and protective he was of all those around him, and to see that amplified in a different light was a real treat. He stole all of our hearts with how supportive and willing to listen he was; also, this man got his kid some playing time. It’s also nice to see how little his interactions with Peter haven’t changed.
Seriously, can we give a round of applause for Peter Hale and his overdramatic, hair-whipping self? Ian Bohen seemed to carry some of his Yellowstone persona into the movie and created a western take on the beloved (sort of) werewolf. Oh, and Eli. Eli Hale needs to be protected at all costs because he is all the best parts of Derek with the opportunity to be more than the Hale legacy.
In addition, it seems that most of the Teen Wolf characters chose stable careers, some of which are based directly on their powers. The good they did as teenagers with their supernatural abilities translated into realistic careers meant to help society. If anything, it made it more realistic that they hadn’t seen each other in so long. It shows they were thriving in their own right. The characters stayed true to themselves even as they grew up, especially in Malia’s case.
The main event itself, Allison’s return, is definitely in the good category of it all. It was quite touching when Lydia screamed and was able to save her, and how she remembered and fought for the people she was brainwashed into attacking. It’s a family lesson, and how even when our mind is entirely out of it, the people we love the most seem to know and encourage us the best. Sometimes, they snap us out of whatever prevents us from being who we are.
Also, she and Scott: my heart.
Honestly, the bad is me asking a bunch of questions because I have no idea why some of these moments were necessary. Malia and Parrish? Hikari and Liam? Also, who is Eli’s mom? How did that firefly get into Chris Argent? Finally, was the Stydia breakup necessary? SO MANY QUESTIONS.
It’s fair to say that the movie asks more questions than it answers, and as viewers, the lack of clarity makes it hard to focus on the plot. Although, the lack of a plot is a different complaint altogether. The movie entirely relies on unanswered questions and random plot twists thrown together to keep viewers on their toes. But at what point do twists turn into confusion? Many interactions and relationships made zero sense and seemed like throwing together leftovers.
Besides the not-so-burning questions, the point of the film fell short. For a reunion film, the extent of catching up and any related dialogue was severely undercut by wolf howls, cringey running, and demure action scenes. In addition, all the antagonists were underwhelming, and the reveal of the main antagonist was just a teacher we all forgot about the minute his character exited the series. It fell flat, like long-forgotten storylines were dredged up and overhyped to create two and a half hours of failing nostalgia.
Also, some things DO NOT need to be put on TV. I get that this is supposed to be the mature version of the MTV classic, but I don’t think anyone wanted to see THAT. However, despite the f-bombs being out of character, it was nice to see the platform adequately expressing when shit hits the fan.
Furthermore, the Allison story felt like a repeat of the end of Season 2, considering hunter Allison went back to being good Allison once her dad snapped her back to reality. While the Oni was an excellent way to bring her back and tie up Season 3, it felt like a repeat, especially when the promo led us down a darker direction. Speaking of snaps, vanishing after being stabbed is Teen Wolf‘s equivalent to the Avengers: Infinity War snap. It was unnecessary, and none of us bought for a second that the characters had died.
Also, can we talk about the special effects? Pro-tip, don’t do something that hasn’t been tried and tested on the budget you were given. In some moments, acting and special effects were a variation of cringe. While the picture quality was entirely upgraded, that was about as good as it got. What can I say? 4K Ultra HD can’t even cover poor choices.
There were are few things in this movie that were wholly unnecessary. The first is Derek Hale’s death. WHAT WAS THE REASON? Isn’t it bad enough that Derek had to watch his entire family die, live with that pain, be an outcast, and have to grow up alone? But to put his son through that? Eli watched his dad die, and Derek knew the pain of that, and the writers still killed him off.
Derek would know that just because Scott is the Alpha doesn’t mean that Eli will learn everything or be protected the way he should be. Derek is a good dad, and he would never leave his son. For many of us, watching Derek Hale’s growth and his journey was the highlight of our days. He was a complicated character that we felt for. The decision to kill him off can only be justified as poor storytelling.
Also, STYDIA? The one thing I have always loved about Stiles and Lydia’s relationship was their ability to talk honestly and rawly about anything. Despite Lydia’s understandable fear, she would never leave Stiles without telling him about her dreams. She would never break his heart because she has gone through hell to get him back. There was no reason to break them up or make them complicated because of a dream that Lydia would have easily talked Stiles through.
In fact, there was no need to make a dream or any reason for Lydia to leave Stiles. She could have easily told him that she was going on a girl’s trip and could’ve kept him in the dark until she returned to him. While I understand the writers may have thought that if Stiles knew what was happening, he would’ve come to help Scott, the writers didn’t need to break up Stydia to keep him off the screen. Lydia could easily have kept him in the dark.
Finally, the Arden Cho of it all. While Hikari was a fantastic swordswoman, we didn’t know or come to know anything about her in the span of the film. It’s not fair to viewers to hype up the movie around a character we never learn about and then don’t see again. All we learned was that she and Liam were close and that she was a kitsune. We could have just had Cho return and play the kitsune that knows the history of Beacon Hills, especially because of her ACTUAL family history with the Nogitsune. It would’ve made sense to see her again.
She could’ve even been friends with Liam, which could have been an exciting plot twist. But, the fact is, Cho was missed and was done dirty. We deserved to see Kira again and to see her close out her story with Scott and Beacon Hills. Kira would’ve added the suspense, and it would’ve made sense that she returned to help Scott because she knows him. If anything, Hikari could have been her prodigy and someone young and new that was learning the ways of being a kitsune.
There were many ways to go about Derek Hale, Stydia, and finding a way to bring back Arden Cho, and it’s an apparent oversight on their part for not doing the best they could for this long-awaited film.
The film was, at best, a small reunion. It didn’t have the guts and storyline to make a good movie, but it could be a filler epilogue episode. While I did enjoy seeing the characters back again and seeing them interact, it just felt bland. It was heartwarming to see these family dynamics and old faces, but it was hard to be content with the storyline being fed to us when the execution was underwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong, seeing them all together, fighting for each other and working to bring down the enemy, made me emotional. But it’s hard to enjoy the film when so much of what made the fandom is missing from our screens. It was nice to see the adults, who haven’t changed a bit, interact and be badass, which was one thing I loved about the series, as they never just let the teenagers handle the bad guys.
It’s a film that brings together family, but the storyline is a mess, and a lot of unnecessary confusion distracts viewers from the genuine feel of the Teen Wolf series. So again, the film is, at best, underwhelming.
Teen Wolf: The Movie is streaming now on Paramount+.