Everyone has their own personal favorite type of movie. Although I would never classify them as my favorite, I am a sucker for the classic Universal monsters – Dracula, Wolf Man, Frankenstein, and all the other creatures who appeared in those films. I'm not a fan of horror films by any stretch of the imagination, but put a Universal monster into a movie and I'm likely to be quite interested. Not being a purist, I'm very happy to see new actors take the classic roles as well as directors and screenwriters put their own personal spin on the stories. However, I don't allow my like for the creatures and my desire to see new stories involving them cloud my vision – if the movie isn't good I'm going to be disappointed whether a creature friend of mine appears in it or not.
That being said, Joe Johnston's update to 1941's The Wolf Man, 2010's The Wolfman is a major disappointment. Starring Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot and Anthony Hopkins as Talbot's father, Sir John Talbot, the film may feature excellent makeup and good use of CGI, but the story and characters certainly leave something to be desired.
The screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self takes place in Victorian England and finds Talbot having grown up in America, away from his ancestral home in England. Talbot was sent there after a trip to a mental institution following his mother's suicide. As an adult, Talbot is called back to his family's estate by his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) who is concerned that her betrothed has gone missing. It quickly becomes apparent that Talbot's brother has been killed by a beast, and upon hearing rumors of a wolfman, Talbot sets off to find the truth… only to be bitten.
That's all well and good; it is a Wolfman movie and Talbot is the lead character and consequently must be bitten – those are the rules. One can almost even forgive the silly story of having Talbot grow up in America, something that feels to have been included because Benicio Del Toro can better approximate an American accent than an English one (for the record however, the American accent is distinctly odd). What is unforgivable about the film is the fact that once Talbot gets bitten The Wolfman seems to have nothing else interesting to do and most of the movie occurs after the bite.