A Reigniting of Beacon Hills’ Beating Heart
Jan 28, 2023
Home Movie Reviews ‘Teen Wolf: The Movie’ Review: A Reigniting of Beacon Hills’ Beating Heart
‘Teen Wolf: The Movie’ marks a metamorphosis to adulthood for the central characters.
Image via Paramount+
It’s fair to say that when Teen Wolf: The Movie was first announced there was an immediate buzz around a return for the supernatural drama. However, there was almost certainly a silent anxiety around bringing back some of the most beloved characters in MTV’s repertoire and risking uprooting the satisfying ending to Jeff Davis’ six-year epic. That being said, there was one universally heartbreaking loss back in Season 3 that fans never really recovered from — the death of Allison Argent (Crystal Reed) — and Davis secured immediate approval with his decision to bring the archer character back. If there was any doubt, her return does not disappoint. Teen Wolf: The Movie is a blueprint of what Davis did so well during the show’s lengthy run, leaning into the nostalgia of it all, and the film is undoubtedly a love letter for Teen Wolf’s most loyal fans. Set 15 years after the show ended, Teen Wolf: The Movie feels more like the start of a new season after a year-long break than a revival set in the future, with the cast slipping back into old roles as effortlessly as riding a bike. Throughout the feature, Davis seamlessly pulls from familiar territory, be it through dipping into the heartbreak archives of the show or relying on the dry humor that seldom fails to land, both of which inspire a sense of reconnection with the audience.
The film picks up by re-establishing the very mundane lives of alpha Scott McCall’s (Tyler Posey) pack/unbiological family. Despite having all moved away from Beacon Hills — and largely one another — they all share a unified emptiness from no longer fulfilling their shared purpose of protecting those who cannot protect themselves. For Scott, there is the added and very apparent sense of melancholy as he battles with wistfulness over the life he never had with Allison after he “felt her slip away from me” as she died in his arms. While he commits his time to running an animal shelter, his companions find a meaning of sorts in their own ventures. Lydia Martin (Holland Roden) has discovered fulfillment in climbing the corporate ladder whilst actively suppressing her banshee screams. Meanwhile, Malia Tate (Shelley Hennig) focuses her were-coyote energy on her no-strings-except-a-few romance with Jordan Parrish (Ryan Kelley) – who still works alongside Sheriff Stilinksi (Linden Ashby). But there is little time to dwell on the mediocrity of life outside Beacon Hills with Scott being tortured with visions of Allison crying out for help and the nogitsune harnessing chaos behind the scenes.
Image via Paramount+
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The film is quick to grow claws, picking up with the same intensity that Teen Wolf audiences are accustomed to. Where it really shines is in the same places the teen drama has always done so, in moments of love and humanity. This is especially apparent during the long-awaited reunion between Scott and Allison. In a goosebump-inducing scene, Scott is overcome when he sees an unconscious Allison appear in front of him for the first time. Small moments, such as his shaking hands caressing her forehead in the car home, do exactly what Davis does best, finding a vulnerability in even the strongest leaders. This is amplified by an outstanding supporting performance from Melissa Ponzio as Scott’s mother Melissa McCall, who clearly feels her son’s loss and encourages him to “go get her” when Allison awakens, confused, and goes on the run in full werewolf-hunter mode.
Scott’s efforts prove successful, but not in the way he hopes with Allison — who has been manipulated by the nogitsune and cannot remember who she truly is — attacking him with full force. Although far from romantic, the scene plays out with authenticity that keeps the magic very much alive. In Scott’s signature self-sacrificial optimism, he attempts to get through to Allison and remind her of who she is — and who he was to her. This leads to an eventual reunion cloaked in a high-octane emotion that carries the weight of the film with impressive ease and allows the audience to fall in love with them all over again.
Image via Paramount+
Other triumphs include Derek Hale’s (Tyler Hoechlin) tumultuous relationship with his rebellious teenage son Eli (Vince Mattis). Although their central point of contention is Eli’s inability to fully come into his own as a werewolf, their story is laced with themes of identity and compassion which Hoechlin delivers with Superman strength. There is a clear desire from Davis to honor the stories of all the core characters, which at times can lead to an overwhelming influx of information and leave some storylines feeling more incomplete than before. Although there is a seamless integration of Stiles Stilinski’s (Dylan O’Brien) life as a firefighter outside of Beacon Hills — a nice touch for the long-lovers of the show — there is no amount of colorful references that compensate for the omission of Scott and Stiles’ unbreakable brotherly bond. The added decision to write Lydia and Stiles’ love story off altogether as a sacrificial choice on Lydia’s part also feels insincere and painful given the slow burn that ensued over the show’s duration.
Overall, Teen Wolf: The Movie packs a heavy punch and stands tall in the original series’ six-season shadow. The film pulls on threads that have always resonated well with its loyal viewer base and continues the story of these treasured characters forward in a truly authentic way. Whilst some omissions are hard to get past, the film does well to embrace them and offers a collective conclusion to most storylines in a way that honors the fan devotion behind the series. There is a consciousness from Davis to grow the story with the viewers who have aged with it, which helps it land in its relatability in the same way that the show did with its then-teenage audience. In true honor of Davis’ stamp on the project, heartache, loss, and pain are intertwined with astonishing fearlessness that is impossible to be unimpressed by. It’s that very fearlessness that is symbolic of what Teen Wolf has always been, a story of sacrifice in the name of love and family, and Teen Wolf: The Movie delivers on that with unapologetic might.
Teen Wolf: The Movie is on Paramount+ now.
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