It’s been a while since there was a real werewolf movie. These feral hybrid creatures have lately only functioned as opponents for vampires in the Twilight and Underworld movies. The Wolfman puts the killing machine once again front and center but sadly forgets to establish a clear protagonist which makes it a movie with no character to really care about, thus making it difficult for the viewer to actually care about the movie.
The protagonist of the story is Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) who is an actor but travels back to his home village because his brother went missing on a night two other villagers were found dead. He has an estranged relationship with his father (Anthony Hopkins). His brother’s body, or what was left of it, was quickly found and Lawrence decides to stay a little longer until he finds out what happened. The rumors are talking about a vicious creature. One night when he’s visiting gipsies this mysterious creature attacks the camp and takes bait out of Lawrence giving him Lycanthropy, which turns him into a Wolfman at full moon.
No Lawrence might be presented as the protagonist but a detached performance by Benicio Del Toro kept me from identifying with him. Of course it’s sad that this happened to him, but on the other hand I had more sympathy for the villagers and Inspector Abberline who were pretty much innocent and a bit ignorant due to them not understanding what is going on but you an hardly blame them as they see their number getting smaller every full moon.
There’s also Gwen (Emily Blunt), formerly involved with Lawrence’s brother but now slowly taking a liking in Lawrence himself. She doesn’t get much to do the first half of the movie. Despite being noble she does aid a guilty fugitive in his escape. Only in the finally is she the true protagonist of the story but at that point on the movie made me lose my interest.
I was a bit disappointed about the look of the Wolfman. It looks a lot like the original make up they did over 60 years ago. I would have liked it if the updated the look and made it more like a wolf rather than just a human face with some dentures and extra hair.
Yet there are a handful of good scenes though and the camerawork in some cases is excellent. The atmosphere of the village and the Talbot estate is really an integral part of the movie and one thing that does work for it.
But sadly I think that werewolves deserve a better movie than The Wolfman is.