Werewolf’s first reactions to Marvel’s Night have started to drop online – and critics are calling it an “instant classic” that could take the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in new and unexpected directions.
The upcoming Phase 4 MCU project, which arrives on Disney Plus on Friday, October 7 and received its first trailer at the D23 Expo, has been positioned as Marvel’s first real horror production. And, based on what critics have been saying since the end of the social embargo, Werewolf by Night is as violent and surreal as many fans expect it to be.
Werewolf by Night is Marvel’s first attempt at a so-called Special Presentation – that is, a one-off TV special that, like Moon Knight, fits into the wider world of the MCU, but also exists as a standalone property. Given the more mature content Moon Knight contained and the new paths it broke through in Marvel’s giant franchise, it also won’t come as a huge surprise to see critics comparing the two.
James Viscardi of ComicBook.com was one such journalist who noticed the similarities between the duo, calling Werewolf by Night “surprisingly violent” and “an instant and immediately re-watchable classic”:
The Marvel Disney+ shows have been a little on the whole map quality, but #WerewolfByNight is easily the best thing they’ve done. Yeah, even better than #MoonKnight (which everyone knows I loved) pic.twitter.com/JYhwimtJgmSeptember 26, 2022
Eric Goldman of Fandom said that Werewolf by Night was an “exciting example of how they [Marvel] can push boundaries”, adding that its monochromatic aesthetic “works perfectly for the story and feels so unique in the MCU”:
I love #WerewolfByNight! The classic black and white horror approach works perfectly for the story and feels so unique to the MCU. It’s an exciting example of how they can push boundaries. The cast is great and I hope to see more of them and that sort of thing. pic.twitter.com/YJoTqmPXWoSeptember 26, 2022
SlashFilm reporter Rafael Motamayor described the TV special as the “Marvel Studios Monster Mash you’ve been waiting for”, before stating how director Michael Giacchino’s vision helped Werewolf by Night have the hallmarks of classic monster movies from SlashFilm. Universal:
#WerewolfByNight is the Marvel Studios Monster Mash you’ve been waiting for! Great Universal Classic Monsters vibes and surprisingly, LOTS of violence for a Marvel title. Michael Giacchino rocks, but Gael García Bernal is a star. FANTASTIC use of Man-Thing. #FantasticFest2022September 26, 2022
Others were quick to praise the cast of the TV special, with Anthony Gagliardi of The Movie Podcast calling lead star Gael García Bernal “fantastic” and lead supporting actress Laura Donnelly “bad ass”:
Michael Giacchino’s #WerewolfByNight captures the aesthetic of ’40s Hollywood horror, but with a Marvel twist. It has just the right amount of suspense to draw you in and leave you terrified. Gael García Bernal is fantastic and Lauren Donnelly is awesome! @MarvelStudios @m_giacchino pic.twitter.com/3Xxb6VwElPSeptember 26, 2022
Meanwhile, MCU member BigScreenLeaks was one of the few critics to pick Man-Thing, another monster set to appear in Werewolf by Night, as a potential “fan favorite” in this “cheesy” horror-style Marvel project:
Marvel took a huge hit with #WerewolfByNight and they rocked it. I love how the over-the-top horror vibes mix with the Marvel style! @GaelGarciaB is the perfect actor to play Jack Russell and Man Thing will become a fan favorite! @m_giacchino did not disappoint. pic.twitter.com/jSdxOnIR7jSeptember 26, 2022
Collider’s Rob Keyes was a little less enthusiastic about the special’s supporting cast, saying they’re “not on the same level” as other MCU Disney Plus shows. However, he called it an “exciting Halloween special” that offers a look at how Marvel Studios can develop the MCU’s more supernatural/monster side:
My thoughts #WerewolfByNight: Marvel’s new MCU monsters and protagonists are amazing, and so is Michael Giacchino’s direction and music! The supporting characters aren’t on the same level, but Werewolf By Night is still an exciting Halloween special that they should keep making. pic.twitter.com/AARANUHjw4September 26, 2022
Ultimately, Gizmodo screenwriter Germain Lussier called Werewolf by Night a “love letter to old-school monster movies” that tells a captivating story in its 60-minute runtime:
Monster hunters with extreme weapons, amazing creatures, crazy black and white blood, #WerewolfByNight is a love letter to old school monster movies in a tight one-hour package. #FantasticFest #MarvelStudios pic.twitter.com/XnIIUUqQFzSeptember 26, 2022
While it’s fantastic to hear about how good Werewolf by Night is, it has to be said that this is just a small selection of critical verdicts. There’s likely to be more ahead of the TV special’s release early next month, including reviews that aren’t so positive.
Still, Werewolf by Night looks like it’s going to be for a violent and scary free seasonal watch when it comes to Disney Plus soon. We hope these initial reactions are a sign of just how spectacularly scary it will be and ultimately don’t end up being divisive like other 2022 MCU projects like Thor: Love and Thunder or another horror-style superhero movie in Doctor Strange 2. .
For more MCU-based content, check out our Marvel movies guide in order. Alternatively, find out what’s to come as part of Marvel’s Phase 5, or read everything worth knowing about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.