Teen Wolf: The Movie Comes Up Short But Still Shocks
Teen Wolf: The Movie has been out long enough that it’s time to finally collect my thoughts after being overrun with emotions about what it means to have this movie. From the cast to the storyline and more, there’s so much to unpack. I’m going to hit all the points that, combined, were the size of the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. Except, it came for me.
Warning: It’s about to get spoiler-y!
Returning to Beacon Hills in Teen Wolf: The Movie was like coming home for me. I can still remember when the show aired. The hype and excitement of recreating an 80s flick that was sheer fun just on its tackiness alone was confusing. I had no idea who these actors were outside of Linden Ashby because I am a dork and grew up on Mortal Kombat. (Eat it, Streetfighter. I said what I said.) I was also freshly graduated from high school. So, when this show was roaring to go, I was preparing my best sarcastic commentary and rips. Little did I know I’d fall in love with this show, not to mention get a tattoo of Derek Hale’s triskele on the back of my neck.
Now, here we are. Coming back with a movie. I’m not a huge fan of reboots because you can’t duplicate the art or characters of such an impactful show. But a next-generation propelling into a new era with new obstacles to face? Hell to the yes! And bringing up some epic cameos of unforgettable characters from the past? Give it to me!
I’ve heard all of the hubbub about a few key characters from the show not making an appearance and therefore the movie was wretched almost solely because of that. I can understand from a certain perspective. When a character played such a vital part and made a memorable impact, it can be heartbreaking and even enraging when they’re not a part of the future. But, just like in real life, things change, characters change, and you move forward. Sometimes, you move forward without those people and it hurts.
Yet, even though it’s hell, and it sucks, you keep moving forward. That’s just what Teen Wolf did.
What Could’ve Been
Though the cinematography remained very much in style with the show, it was definitely amplified, giving us wider shots of Beacon Hills and making me want to move there even more. Sure, the CGI remained subpar—a big reason I loved the show to begin with—but the storytelling is what captured my heart and soul.
More than returning to this wolfish town, Teen Wolf returned to a storyline that I’d believed was closed with so much change layered over top of it. I was living for the plot-twists and surprises even though I was shrieking in dread at the same time. Let me tell you, that is one odd feeling. But, I had to remind myself, these guys are grown. I’m grown! Swearing, nudity, and feeling like you’re going insane are normal at this point! So, while Chris’s first feck-drop was shocking, I rolled with it.
Before diving into even more of the juicy bits, the movie did come up short. Not on expectations. Not at all. But on time. There was so much put into this movie. From past to present to future and jam-packing all of that into a one-hour movie which is barely over a typical run-time of an episode of the show turned out to be too much. There were many moments that didn’t get enough attention and were left wide open or just lost in translation because the focus was all over the place.
Not going to lie…I still don’t know who Greenberg is. This time, it went over my head. Sorry, coach.
The Fox and The Wolf
Liam and Hikari definitely deserved more screen time. Don’t get me wrong, Liam’s big-time glow-up was mouthwateringly rugged. Scott had given Liam the job of guarding the Nogitsune and that’s no small task. Nonetheless, Liam seemed to be living his best anime life, working in a ramen shop and surrounded by kitsune. The fact that he finally got his kitsune was fantastic. I always had a hunch that kitsune was his type, and Hikari was a perfect match.
Still, Liam’s part in this movie felt limited. A few glimpses here and there with no illumination of how he and Hikari came together just wasn’t enough.
If there was a spin-off about these two, even a limited one, I’d be all over it.
Did Nobody Stay Together?
Though not a single relationship survived the test of time, new ones had unfolded. Yes, I’m talking about Malia and Jordan.
They were quite the surprising hook-up. Sure, it may have happened because the actors were seeking a more full-frontal scene opportunity, but it awakened potential in a unique ship nobody asked for and now have. These two both survived some traumatic experiences that were the result of their supernatural alter-egos coming to the surface if you recall. l Plus, with Malia’s blunt honesty and Jordan’s awkward kindness, it’s an interesting coupling. Fanfiction will definitely eat it alive.
And, was it only me that caught Mama McCall and Peter having a certain air about them? Like, how did he get into her house!? I’m assuming it’s her house since it was never actually confirmed whose it was, and it didn’t look like Derek’s. And, Peter just magically had a blow torch? It was all very sneaky and the situation at the time may have been enough to cover it up for the characters but not for me. Not for someone who is suspicious of every single thing Peter Hale does.
The Return of a Big Bad
The Nogitsune was the big bad of Teen Wolf during the third season and one of the most memorable storylines from the show. Seeing as he was entrapped and not killed, it’s not surprising that it’d come back. Getting to see its ugly wolfish-goblin face was shocking. It looked like it came straight from Mordor. I definitely didn’t imagine that. And, I might’ve laughed. Just a little.
The Nogitsune didn’t waste time trying to get payback. Learning from its past, it went straight for Allison who still struggled with being resurrected. However, it’s not clear how the Nogitsune discovered a kitsune that didn’t even know it was a kitsune. It was certainly convenient, though it was pushed together hastily.
The instigator behind the Nogitsune’s escape? Mr. Harris, the former Beacon Hills High chemistry teacher himself. He showed up in full black and full of menace, ready to unleash his revenge on his former students. He’d always been bitter toward Scott and his friends, but I don’t think anyone expected him to be behind all of this.
First off, I’m a bit disappointed there was no backstory on how Mr. Harris managed to survive his ritualistic murder from TW: 3A. The man was determined dead. We saw it with our own eyes! But, as Mama McCall said, things that seem impossible usually turn out to be possible in Beacon Hills. While I want that to be a satisfying answer, I’m still itchy about this. Anybody else?
A Banshee Wails
Lydia’s return was highly anticipated and when she reunited with Scott it was so beautifully bittersweet. Just in their hugging, it was clear how much they’d grown and it pulled at the heartstrings hard.
Lydia, much like Scott had utilized her supernatural abilities for her future. Just from her introduction in the movie it was apparent that she’d built a business on renewable energy based on soundwaves and that was impressive as hell. She took this power and turned into something good, just as Scott did.
What couldn’t be ignored is that Lydia and Stiles were no longer together. While it’s mostly attributed to Dylan O’Brien’s absence, there’s nothing indicating that this still wouldn’t have happened if he was involved in the movie. Lydia admitted-and under great duress-that she’d had the same nightmare of his death over and over until she was sure that it was no longer a nightmare but a death call. It also proved why she hadn’t wailed in years. She was terrified it would be for him.
The broken relationship destroyed Lydia just as losing Allison had destroyed Scott. While this broke the hearts of so many, it’s not unheard of. Buffy and Angel broke up, died, and ultimately called it quits when they realized they’d be the death of each other. Some soulmates don’t always get to be together.
Lydia’s one of the characters that has suffered the most, but she’s also evolved the most and I have to stand and applaud her for that.
We Need to talk about Eli
So, Derek Hale has a son. I’m still trying to figure out where Eli fits in the timeline, but he was a great addition to the pack.
His and Derek’s arc was quite an emotional ride. It was clear from the start that Eli reminded Derek more of Stiles than anyone else, even Eli’s mother. Hell, Eli reminded the entire fandom of Stiles. From his horrible lacrosse skills to the amount of sarcasm and awkwardness he had about being a werewolf.
Derek and Eli’s discussion about Eli’s inability to wolf-out was a major trigger for the next generation of Teen Wolf. This wasn’t a typical teen struggle, as we well remember with Scott. Eli’s squeamishness whenever it came up offered up some humor. That is until it was revealed to be nothing more than a mask over Eli’s trauma of seeing Derek wolfed out when he was three. The many layers of this relationship gave us more than just a skin-deep rebellion. Derek didn’t want Eli to suffer the way that he had while growing up and that was deeply felt.
I can’t forget about Roscoe and Eli’s obsession with the jeep. It was a major highlight during the promotion of the movie. The fact that Derek had it was proof enough that he had a good relationship with the Stilinski family. As if passing on a family heirloom, it made sense that Eli would make a claim. Can’t say I’m surprised, but I am proud. Stiles wouldn’t be disappointed that Roscoe got to ride again
There’s still one unanswered curiosity. Who is Eli’s mom? The question has me sitting in a ramen bowl of anxiety because I keep thinking back to Kate. I mean that’d be crazy…right? RIGHT?
Allison’s return in the form of a druid ritual expected to get her out of Bardo-the state of living between her death and the next life yielded powerful consequences. Instead of moving on, Allison appeared in an angelic swath of light on top of the nemeton. This took the TW universe to a whole new height. Nobody has ever come back from the dead let alone back from sheer will and power.
This return gave the fans what they’ve wanted for so long. Allison’s death crushed so many hearts and this gave her character a fresh start. Granted, getting manipulated by the Nogitsune complicated that. Seeing the hunter in top form was sublime.
Scott and Allison AKA Scallison reunited and it was painful. Not only emotionally, but physically. Scott willingly took a wolfsbane-laced dagger to his side! His love for her still hasn’t dimmed since the day he lost her and I can appreciate that. They came full circle. I just wish other characters got to have that, too.
All’s Well That Ends Well? Debatable.
The final fight of the movie left quite a bit up in the air including the fandom’s emotions. Nobody saw it coming.
The loss came fast followed by a speech that had me crying a lake. And yes, I’m talking about Derek Hale’s major sacrifice and Sheriff Stilinski’s speech to Eli honoring him.
It’s easy to be angry rather than grieve Derek Hale. In the end, he made a sacrifice any parent would for their child. The fact that he believed Scott could help Eli more than he ever could was hard to swallow and will have me living in denial for eternity. Derek was ultimately a hero in so many ways and was so loved, more than I can imagine he understood.
That speech by Sheriff Stilinski, though I still don’t think was enough to honor such a heart-shattering loss, was so spot-on. I don’t know about anybody else, but this was something I’d been waiting years for.
The Sheriff had seen Derek in a way nobody else had, and I don’t believe it was given much thought until this moment. Derek Hale was easily at the top of the list of characters who had it the hardest. Constantly questioned, doubted, accused, and usually took the worst beatings that pushed him to the brink of death.
Not only that, but if you recall, he lost his family short of a sister that rarely talks to him and a sociopathic uncle. He was only a teenager himself when he lost everything and barely knew anything. Derek grew up on survival instincts, but only ever tried to protect others. The way the Sheriff talked about Derek truly showcased how close they’d grown. He became the family Derek deserved and him being the one to talk to Eli, not Scott, was perfect.
Allison’s struggle with her second chance at life made me reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both leading ladies were handed unique second chances and both felt that strange wistful taste in their mouths. Scott didn’t let her get lost in the feeling of what she’d lost but assured her that she wouldn’t be alone going forward. Maybe it was wishy-washy but screw it. These two went through the wringer. They both deserve their happy ending.
Scott got his first love back. Not many of the beloved characters were so lucky. It’s still unclear what became of Malia and Jordan though it was hinted that the two could be taking things more seriously than just hooking up. With how sporadic and wild Malia gets, can she handle getting tied down? Then again, getting tied down by the hellhound didn’t seem to bother her in the first half of the movie, so maybe she’s ready for this next challenge. All in all, these two couples being able to evolve is cute. I just wish that there was a deleted scene of how these even got started.
I’m also pretty sure that Sheriff Stilinski will be officially retiring after all of this. Where are the rest of the characters going? It’s all up in the air, which may or may not be a good thing. There’s a chance that everything was patched together in such a way because maybe there could be more coming. Who knows, maybe there’s be an extended version like Lord of the Rings or maybe I’m just being wistful.