REVIEW: ‘Teen Wolf: The Movie’ Is Exactly What It Needed To Be

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Teen Wolf the Movie — But Why Tho

I remember watching the premiere episode of Teen Wolf on MTV and falling in love with Tyler Posey. The series embraced mythologies across cultures and the lore became increasingly wide over its six-year run. With YA romance, folklore, and found family, the series was one of my favorites. It’s no surprise that fans have been pushing for a revival of any sort since the series’ cancelation in 2017. Now with the Paramount+ Original, Teen Wolf: The Movie, it takes just over two hours to tell a season’s worth of story in one feature film, for better and worse.

In Teen Wolf: The Movie, produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and MGM, a full moon rises in Beacon Hills, and with it, a terrifying evil emerges to everyone’s—and I do mean everyone’s—surprise. As a mysterious enemy arises, the wolves are howling once again, calling for the return of banshees, werecoyotes, hellhounds, kitsunes, and every other shapeshifter in the night to come back home. But only a werewolf like Scott McCall (Posey), who is still an alpha, can both gather new allies and reunite trusted friends to fight back against what could be the most powerful and deadliest enemy they’ve ever faced. The film also hosts appearances from Crystal Reed, Tyler Hoechlin, Linden Ashby, JR Bourne, Seth Gilliam, Ryan Kelley, Melissa Ponzio, Ian Bohen, and Nobi Nakanishi.

The host of characters who make appearances, both big and small, will leave Teen Wolf fans pointing in excitement at their screens. For me, that rush of excitement came from seeing a main character from seasons one and two coming back with importance—but I won’t spoil any appearances for you. Embracing the action sequences it’s known for, the film manages to execute some pretty stellar fight scenes, particularly in the last half. If you enjoyed when the series went all in, well, you’ll enjoy it here. The only difference is that with the age of the actors comes a certain physicality that benefits the sequences and allows them to go even farther in than in the series.

While lackluster special effects work does mar some emotional moments, particularly in the last 30 minutes, the mixed bag of effects is made up for by great character chemistry moments. Like with the series, it’s the charisma of the cast, and the way each choice is made within the story that makes its impact. Add in the way the story has come full circle and there is so much to love. Surprisingly though, the series doesn’t bank on the past to make its mark on the present. The film manages to capture each character’s fears and pain in a way that allows them to have depth that directly impacts the film’s narrative.

Now, the most important thing I will warn that this film is for the fans. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the series (which is understandable) or you never have before, Teen Wolf: The Movie really isn’t a starting point. Instead, it’s basically a season seven. This isn’t so much a critique as it is important to those tuning into Paramount+ to understand. And with the whole series available on the streamer, there isn’t a better time to rewatch than now.

My biggest complaint about Teen Wolf: The Movie is that it is dense with story, so much so that it would have been better served in a serialized or mini-series format. Seeing some actors reprise their roles was so exciting that I wanted more of them because adulthood suits their characters extremely well. Additionally, getting the time to see our characters as adults with different lives, families, and focuses would have better served their returns.

I want more time with the characters I have missed all of this time in every way, and Teen Wolf: The Movie did more to make me miss them than feel like a conclusion to their journeys. But maybe that’s a good thing, right? Unlike some revivals, there wasn’t a moment that made me question my love of the franchise or wish that the film never happened. I just want more of it, as a fan and as a critic, and the two-hour and 17-minute runtime isn’t long enough to capture the weight the story needs.

In the end, though, Teen Wolf: The Movie is a great addition to the franchise. Sure, it should have been a new season, but it offers up a hell of a lot more than just nostalgia for the MTV millennials out there. The film manages to handle each character within the larger history of Beacon Hills and is also allowed to process their regrets from the series, with each mistake from the past coming back with a bite. Despite not being concerned with nostalgia, Teen Wolf: The Movie never forgets what made the original series special.

Teen Wolf: The Movie is streaming exclusively on Paramount+ January 25, 2023.


Teen Wolf: The Movie
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Despite not being concerned with nostalgia, Teen Wolf: The Movie never forgets what made the original series special.

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