Teen Wolf: The Movie is a lighthearted extension of the original series that finds a way to subtly hint at the franchise’s future.
Teen Wolf debuted in 2011 as a successor to the supernatural teen drama archetype previously employed by shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural, and quickly expanded from its source material’s straightforward “teenager becomes a werewolf” plot to become its own entire fantasy universe set in modern California. Seven years after the program ended, many of the actors and crew have reunited for a brand new adventure in Teen Wolf: The Movie, which is now available on the Paramount+ streaming service.
Teen Wolf: The Movie is a lighthearted love letter to the fan base, building on the series’ emotional arcs while maintaining the show’s original self-aware tone.
Teen Wolf: The Movie picks up years after the events of the six-season MTV series, with many of the show’s protagonists enjoying relatively peaceful lives. Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), the Alpha Werewolf, has found solid work alongside Alan Deaton (Seth Gilliam), while his comrades have dispersed, leading their own lives entirely apart from one another. This features Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin), who is more metaphorically and emotionally at odds with his son Eli (Vince Mattis).
Despite the time leap, much of the ensemble is still struggling with the residual agony of Allison’s (Crystal Reed) death from years before, making her the ideal target for the Nogitsune (Aaron Hendry). The Nogitsune, a violent chaos demon restrained by the series’ protagonists in Season 3, attacks Beacon Hills and manipulates the gang into resurrecting an amnesiac Allison as his own agent of havoc. Scott must reunite his comrades to withstand the Nogitsune’s attack and, perhaps, restore Allison’s memory before she murders Scott.
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Teen Wolf: The Movie is a love letter to a popular MTV show, with many (but not all) of the original cast reprising their original roles. The performances have a lived-in air as a consequence, with everyone simply falling back into their roles. Older interactions are filled out, and new partnerships are rapidly created with a lovely sense of humor. The program fits right in with the original series, with a vast and diverse ensemble swiftly sharing screen time to varying degrees. While this works for certain characters, such as Malia (Shelley Hennig), whose forthright personality makes her a perfect supporting character in the overall tale, it feels hurried for others, such as Lydia (Holland Roden).
The finest subplot in the film is also the one that gently hints at the series’ possible future, centered on Derek and Eli. As a single parent trying to raise Eli, Hoechlin gets to exercise some of the paternal muscles he defined as Clark Kent in Superman & Lois. Mattis reacts nicely to Hoechlin, lending a slightly guarded but sardonic spirit to the proceedings. Their romance plays out quietly throughout the film, which is the most successful at reproducing the series’ youthful character dynamics.
Their storyline line is melodramatic and powerful, and it plays with concepts of family and heritage well enough for people who are unfamiliar with the original series.
Teen Wolf: The Movie is on par with the program it’s based on, an intentionally campy comeback that will thrill fans of the original series. Even when the stakes are at their highest, Teen Wolf manages to sneak in some silly sarcasm or impromptu lacrosse. Teen Wolf: The Movie is a blast for anybody wishing to return to Beacon Hill, providing a great continuation of the original program that purposely leaves the door open for the future, designed with fans of the series in mind but well enough made for those coming in fresh.