After every Marvel movie that I go see out of habit, I always ask my friends: What will get us excited for Marvel again? I didn’t expect Werewolf by Night, a 53-minute Halloween special to be in the equation, but when it was added to this year’s Beyond Fest, I got intrigued.
And I wasn’t disappointed. Composer turned composer-and-director Michael Giacchino’s vision is clear and confident, an ode to Universal’s black and white monsters of old that did not look and feel like every other CGI-addled Marvel movie. I think the only moment that took me out of it was some shoddy CGI spiders. Otherwise, this looked beautiful.
While it sometimes fell back into the chummy “comedic” Marvel brand, it also had some kewl practical FX and darker shit than I would’ve anticipated. Plus, and likely least surprising of all, Giacchino’s directorial duties didn’t lead to him slouching on the score, a soundtrack I look forward to sampling during future spooky seasons.
I had totally blacked out the Bloodstone comics until watching this, but that added a self-serious fantasy lens that made it so fun. A cult of monster hunters with Gael infiltrating? Sure, I’m in. And look, anything that has a SPECIAL GUEST STAR MONSTER making French Press is a big win. It’ll be hilarious when Marvel stumbles upon their own Monster Friends Avengers after DC and Universal have been struggling to do so for decades.
Sure, it might feature the second most successful ode to Wizard of Oz and the technicolor age this year after Pearl, but that’s a high bar. This experiment — a Halloween special with all new characters and its own visual language — is exactly the kind of thing I want to see more of.