Sometimes Hollywood makes terrible movies. Sometimes Hollywood makes movies that are so bad that they transcend and become a certain kind of good. This is not one of those times.
I, Frankenstein follows Frankenstein’s Monster, herein dubbed Adam. In the beginning he kills Victor Frankenstein’s young wife in retaliation for Frankenstein’s attempt to kill him, and then runs away. When Victor dies and Adam buries him Adam is then attacked by demons from hell and saved by Gargoyles from heaven (yes, really) and then spends 2 centuries in seclusion and, apparently, becoming a god damned ninja warrior despite having no contact with anyone.
Adam then returns to the “human world” because something needs to get the plot in motion and encounters more demons, the same gargoyles, and a beautiful scientist trying to reanimate dead things as Frankenstein once did.
Naturally he gets mixed up in the war between the angelic gargoyles and the dastardly demons and then there’s a whole bunch of really, really, really bad CGI monster fighting.
There’s a lot I could harp on about this movie but what it really comes down to is that it’s boring. There’s nothing really compelling about the story at all. I never once felt real sympathy for Adam, mostly because he’s just an angry asshole for most of the film. The scientist that is trying to recreate Frankenstein’s work is played by Yvonne Strahovski and she’s pretty stunning but other than being the gorgeous female she has very little to do.
Miranda Otto and Jai Courtney play the principle gargoyles and, well, Otto is ok. I haven’t really seen her since The Lord of the Rings trilogy ended 10 years ago (yeah, it’s been that long) so it’s nice to see her again but it’s kind of a brutal reminder that not everyone benefitted from being in those movies like Ian McKellan, Karl Urban, and Viggo Mortensen did. Courtney I’m slightly confounded by. I know he was popular on TV but so far every movie I’ve seen him in he’s been kinda…. terrible. There’s one sort of exception to that, but that exception has him being a mostly silent henchman.
If there are standouts here then they’re definitely Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy. Eckhart isn’t doing his best work here but there is something enjoyable about hearing him growl out lines like “The gargoyle order must survive, and humanity with it.” Bill Nighy is the perfect choice for the demon leader because when you have a ridiculous movie and you need someone who can be both weird and threatening, well, can you think of anyone else who so consistently pulls that off?
Ultimately though there’s no saving this movie from itself. The plot is dumb and the movie skips through it so fast that it only barely makes sense. It could have made up for that by having some awesome action scenes but instead we get mostly poorly rendered CGI battles viewed from too far away and poorly choreographed fights shot too close up to see what’s actually happening.
I had really been hoping that I, Frankenstein would be so bad it was good. Turns out it was just bad.