For years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been criticized for being too bright, too glittery, and sometimes too self-righteous. Following the experiments of WandaVision and Doctor Strange 2, Werewolf by Night finally breaks boundaries and gives audiences the most unique, refreshing, and un-Marvel-like MCU presentation in years. A return to the classic Hollywood monster genre, his 52-minute horror special takes the Marvelverse in a welcome new direction.
Werewolves of the Night tells the story of Jack Russell, a relatively unknown Marvel Comics character who is cursed to transform into a wolf-like monster at night with a full moon. This special focuses on one night in Jack’s life as he tries to save his friend Ted (with an adorable Marvel cameo from Man Thing) from monster hunters. It’s terrifying, it’s fun, and it uses all the tropes that made the classic monster feature so good to bring to the screen a side of Marvel that the filmmakers never dared to do before: Werewolf by Night. His USP is his presentation of Black and White Noir. Everything, from the title card to the cinematography, is an ode to his 1930s and 1940s Hollywood monster films, as well as his cult series Twilight His Zone. The special uses little CGI, opting instead for hands-on effects and prostheses to deviate from Marvel’s CGI-VFX-friendly model to create the title’s monster. It’s like a breath of fresh air in the saturated times we live in. Director Michael Giacquino brilliantly revives this tone and tenor of the classic horror genre. Given his origins as a composer, he uses some of the best background music used in superhero movies and shows in his recent memory.