Teen Wolf movie review – does it live up to the TV show? – Digital Spy

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The Alpha’s back.
Teen Wolf is back! In glossy, extended movie form – and along with it the arrival of old friends, old enemies and former lovers back from the dead.
We of course mean Allison (Crystal Reed), but in what form? Zombie? Ghostly? Clone? That would constitute a spoiler and we would not dream of ruining the surprise.
Her return is among one of the many talking points that has kept fans up at night. Reed’s character died a poetic, heartbreaking death in season three, impaled with a sword and left to die in her lover Scott’s arms.
We wept, we mourned and then we moved on.
Sure the show didn’t feel quite the same without her but fans learnt to adjust and the new characters were pretty embraceable.
Her death crossed over with Malia’s introduction as well as Arden Lim Cho’s Kira. Kira had the pretty tough job of replacing Allison as Scott’s love interest, but thankfully she was likeable enough to at least make it to season five.
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Now Allison is back and considering the emotional impact of her death, her resurgence, in whatever form has to be handled juuuuuust right.
However, that’s not the only niggling late night thought playing on the minds of fans. While the wolves howl at the moon, Teen Wolf fans are obsessing over the fate of their beloved franchise while dreaded fears creep in.
Will this continuation follow the flopping footsteps of so many other reboots, remakes and revivals?
Can an older Scott (Tyler Posey) still don the wolf fangs with the same earnest and endearing charm? And let’s not forget Stiles.
How on earth could anyone imagine a Teen Wolf without his witty quips and effortlessly un-cool coolness? It’s literally impossible and yet it has been done. Two hours and nineteen minutes of no Stiles.
How well have the creators handled all these challenges?
Like with everything, there’s good and bad and Teen Wolf: The Movie has its problems. There’s no getting away from that, but thankfully the movie ticks a lot more positive boxes than negative.
Straight off the bat, Teen Wolf: The Movie hits you with the dramatics. Its cryptic, punchy intro gets the inquisitive gears turning before it turns its attention to Scott.
The Alpha is back, laying it thick with a corny show of heroism just to remind viewers that he is not just an alpha but the True Alpha. *Eye roll* We LOVE IT.
This is what we’re here for. It’s overly dramatic and has a sweeping grandeur that lands perfectly thanks in part to the musical score. It’s everything that makes Teen Wolf so darn loveable.
As the story unfolds it wastes no time getting to the action but then stalls as it sets up all the pieces that make everything turn.
Much like Stiles’ jeep, it’s clunky but it rolls on – but this is perhaps one of the movie’s biggest sticking points.
There’s quite a lot going on, so the movie becomes a little like a 15,000-piece puzzle. Painstaking to put together, a little like work to juggle all the information, but once you do it’s gratifying and worth standing back to look at.
It overspills with Easter eggs, enough to delight avid watchers of the franchise (you will literally squeal over every reference, especially that lacrosse player namedrop). However if you’re newer to the franchise or haven’t swotted up in preparation for the movie you may find yourself a little confused.
Without slipping into spoiler territory, Allison’s resurgence is well done. It makes sense in the world of Teen Wolf where the fantastical is possible and ties in nicely with an old enemy.
All this nostalgia sinks you straight back into the Teen Wolf universe without alienating new watchers with too much jargon. However it does lack the kind of newness that a fresher angle would have allowed for.
That said, we get an injection of novelty from a couple of new faces, most notably Eli (Vince Mattis) who makes a fine fixture in the gang. A mix of Scott and Stiles but with his own spin, Eli’s new wolf’s blood is much needed. The addition of Eli also allows for more character development from his on-screen father Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) in a way that adds a non-romantic kind of warmth and heart to the movie.
Speaking of heart, it’s time we addressed the big Stiles-shaped elephant in the room. Dylan O’Brien’s absence feels even bigger in the face of all the returning cast, friend and foe alike.
Scott may be the main protagonist, the hero, the defender, but Stiles was always the heart. His wit, charisma and smarts were integral to every story and many times he proved himself invaluable – so how do you go on without him?
You simply just do. The movie makes every effort to make his presence feel palpable. He is interwoven in the background (not that he has ever been background material) but you get the sense that he is still important to the characters.
In that, the creators do a bang-up job. They do the best they can with what they’ve got. It’s clear he has not been forgotten and the effort to include Stiles in this foundational way gives hope for O’Brien’s return should there ever be a continuation. Still, there’s no substitute for the real thing so expect to feel a Stiles-shaped ache in your chest.
That said, Teen Wolf: The Movie succeeds in the most basic if not crucial way. It makes us care. We care about these characters, all over again. We deeply invest in their stories root for them and in turn the events of the story really matter, even if at times it feels a little like a Rubik’s cube trying to puzzle things out thanks to the dense information.
It’s heavy on the nostalgia and for that reason is undoubtedly for the fans, serving them heaps of feels. Casual watchers may feel a little disoriented but there’s still plenty to enjoy.
We would love to give it a solid four stars (and maintain that if you a diehard Teen Wolf-er that’s the rating you should lean into) but for the sake of those trying to figure out the significance of all these beautifully peppered Easter eggs that require background knowledge, we’ll be a little fairer.
Teen Wolf: The Movie is released on Paramount+ in the US on January 26 and in the UK on January 27.

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