Werewolf By Night | Third Space

Werewolf By Night

Hidden in the shadows of the MCU
Sun 9 Oct 2022

4 out of 5 stars

One thing that Phase 4 of the MCU that Kevin Feige seems to want to remind us all is that Marvel is more than The Avengers. Despite setting up a fantastic universe in cinemas, the team at Marvel has been able to plumb the depths of the lexicon of this character-rich graphic novel publisher. To be given the Disney+ platform as a proving ground for characters and formats shows how this division of Disney will continue to grow its influence.

Werewolf / Jack Russell (Gael García Bernal) has been part of the Marvel family since the early 1970s and has been resurrected in recent years to great fanfare. Michael Giacchino direction gives the television special the classic horror look while paying homage to the humour of Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein. The show is all shot in black and white, but the era remains indiscernible, since each character could be as comfortable in the world of Van Helsing’s or walking the streets of New York in 2022. Yet, this production will tantalise the Marvel tragics while introducing another layer of the back catalogue of the comic book behemoth.

In the realm of monster hunting, Ulysses Bloodstone set the standard for those who served mankind to rid the world of these creatures. His power came from the powerful Bloodstone, and when he died, this heirloom would need to be passed on to the next leader of the hunters. His widow, Verussa (Harriet Sansom Harris), calls together a group of the top monster killers to Bloodstone Manor to prove their worthiness in wielding the artefact. This motley mob of characters includes Jack Russell and Ulysses' estranged daughter Elsa (Laura Donnelly), who must compete for the prize. Their goal is to find the monster that has been released into the manor's gardens, and once they kill the beast, they will earn the right to wear the stone. The challenge will be to not only find the creature, but to battle with one another while on the hunt.

Those unfamiliar with this dark side of the franchise might be hesitant to embrace this horrific entry into this world of superheroes. Initially, this production looks like Marvel is merely trying to offer up a Halloween special for Disney+. Yet, viewers will quickly realise that there is more to this chapter of this level of the universe. As Giacchino masterfully crafts a humorous homage to the classic horrors of the past and weaves in the modern elements of the graphic novel narratives, things quickly become worth seeing. Even though this is a dark and violent MCU volume, it opens the door to legendary characters and points towards Moon Knight’s realm.

Werewolf by Night is not for the squeamish and this should not be on the watchlist of the younger Marvel fans. This storyline does introduce rich characters, but they inhabit the violent and scarier corners of the comic book-inspired domain. This production does not utlise the bloodless nature of many of the cinematic predecessors. Michael Giacchino’s direction does not hold back on the gore that would be suspected in this monster-infused realm. Yet, this has to be one of the best of the new characters introduced since the conclusion of Phase 3. Even though it is not as accessible as many of the shows on offer, Jack Russell and his sidekick provide promise for whatever Feige has planned for the future.

Reel Dialogue: What would you sacrifice to achieve ‘the prize?’

At the heart of this story is the aspirational goal of winning the prize. Everything these hunters had done up to this point has led to this moment. In a way, they show that they would put their physical well-being and all relationships on the line to get their hands on the Bloodstone.

Within the realities of life, jobs, and personal relationships, it is worth considering what sacrifices we are all willing to make for a career or country. Audience members may not have to make decisions that put their lives on the line. Still, every day does present different choices that may impact your family, friends, and co-workers. How do you determine how much you are willing to forgo for the sake of moving ahead at work or earning a reward?

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” - Romans 12:1

This is a more significant query than can be extrapolated in a film review. Yet, an excellent place to begin this journey is to consider a biblical perspective on sacrifice. The God of the Bible gives us the example of Jesus to show us how to live a daily existence, regardless of the challenges, temptations, and difficulties. Also, these words help us to deal with extreme and mundane situations.