Five years and changes after the Teen Wolf series finale brought MTV’s furry hero saga to a satisfying if uneven conclusion, Scott McCall’s story continues in Teen Wolf: The Movie. The problem is that while Teen Wolf started out as a Michael J. Fox feature film in 1985, this incarnation turns out to work best in series form, and no amount of push and pull to adapt it to a long canvas cannot hide this. With a tough 140-minute runtime, much of which has gone deep into the series’ lore and is likely to scare away newcomers, this is actually a ‘fans-only’ affair. . Sadly, beyond the undeniable thrill of seeing these characters again, those fans will likely be disappointed with a revival that feels like a litany of fan-service moments in search of a purpose.
The storyline, from series creator Jeff Davis, picks up in Teen Wolf’s home territory of Beacon Hill 15 years after the series finale in 2017, with former werewolf Alpha Scott (Tyler Posey) using his power over animals to help people whenever he can. The decade and a half time jump, even though only a third of it has passed in real time, was a wise decision due to the fact that Posey, at 31, is well beyond the point where he can credibly pass as a teenager. .
Teen Wolf: stills from the movie
Soon, the demonic Nogitsune (Season 3’s big bad) reappears, bent on revenge and culminating in a long finale on “The End Is Near!” omen but whose culminating rejection monster against monster cannot escape the too obvious limits of a budget designed for television. There’s also the matter of the mysterious resurrection of lost love Allison Argent (Crystal Reed), who died in Scott’s arms (also in Season 3) and is now nursing a case of amnesia alongside a mad about werewolves. These cursed children just can’t get a break!
Teen Wolf: The Movie is directed by Russell Mulcahy, who helmed the first two Highlander films as well as 1994’s The Shadow. Always able to add stylistic flair even when scripts weren’t holding up, Mulcahy does what he Maybe for “The Movie” in the title to mean something, but despite its best efforts, Teen Wolf is hopefully limited in scope.
Posey and Tyler Hoechlin, who is back as Scott’s werewolf mentor Derek Hale, benefit the most from being able to reprise these characters many years later. In particular, it’s fun that Hoechlin draws on his experience playing a superpowered dad on Superman & Lois to do something similar in the Teen Wolf sandbox as he cares for his 15-year-old son. , Eli (Vincent Matti), not quite being able to miss like dear old dad. Performance anxiety, perhaps?
It’s also nice to have so many members of the vast Teen Wolf cast still making appearances here. Linden Ashby is a welcome presence as the long-suffering Sheriff Stilinski, as is Seth Gilliam as Scott’s ally Dr. Deaton, and Holland Roden’s Lydia. Reed’s return as Allison, on the other hand, feels less like a necessary story element and more like the fulfillment of some much-desired fanservice. Scott had his most terrible loss with his death, a moment that propelled his growth for the rest of the run. Maybe it makes sense on paper to undo this, except some things remain unclear and weird due to the nature of his resurrection. For example, is she the same age as 15 years ago? If so, it doesn’t really make sense to just pick things up where they left off.
On the subject of returnees, the presence of so many familiar faces makes the absence of Stiles from Dylan O’Brien so glaring. Regardless of why O’Brien died from this movie, Stiles was integrated enough into the show that his absence from these events couldn’t help but hit a false chord. To a large extent, that was probably beyond the writers’ grasp, but their inability to find a plausible way around his absence works against Teen Wolf nonetheless.
With the current vogue for limited-run revivals (like Paramount’s own resurrection of Criminal Minds), one wonders why they haven’t gone down a similar miniseries route for Teen Wolf, especially since Paramount+ presents the new show (unrelated) Wolf Packalso from Davis, the same day.
It certainly feels like there were enough story threads available here to unfold over several weeks in episodic form would have been better than hopscotching so many plot lines in such a random, yet teasing way broadly where things might go next. With a ready-made Teen Wolf successor waiting in the wings at Eli, the franchise’s future could certainly change accordingly, but now might be the time to let that full moon finally go down.