When you think of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and consider its justified place in popular culture given it’s widely known and agreed upon as one of those stories that almost everyone is aware of, even those who haven’t read the novel. This story was the beginning of the horror genre, the original horror story. So a sequel beyond this classic always had so much scope of possibility and a ready and interested audience awaiting something magical to match and compliment the original.
Here comes the new movie.. I, Frankenstein. The idea of creating a world and story beyond the narrative span of the original novel. But to look at Frankenstein’s life post the book. This is what this film is. What a fantastic idea to build a story around, given Frankenstein’s popularity this leaves scope for so much playfulness and imagination beyond the usual set up of movies in establishing the world but getting the narrative domino effect being kicked into action. The result though of all this possibility and potential is somewhat disappointing.
The film focuses on Frankenstein being the centre piece in a war between demons and gargoyles. The whole religious connotations is done way over the top and floods the story in a way that everyone is either set for heaven and hell, who makes for a lonely agnostic bumbling around doing bad and doing good like a grumpy uncle with a penchant for violence.
The ending in itself is so benign, so stupidly Hollywood that without giving too much away, provides an empty feeling in the satisfaction scale, full of predictable and dreary signing off dialogue and ridiculous sense that this version of Frankenstein or Adam is akin to Spiderman or Wolverine as some strange superhero figure. This topped off with the buff and beautifully sculptured body of a ‘monster’ which again highlights the watered down nature of this attempt to carry on from the original. Which considering the story of this character from Mary Shelley and how such a disturbed, lost and angry the creature is.. This attempt that continues similarly, but not exactly off from the original, is less than a ghost of the haunted masterpiece that has transfixed us and inspired a genre since its publication centuries ago.
The only solace in this is that it sticks to the main theme of the original, in that it is Frankenstein struggling to find or understand his place in the world.. The usual question of ‘who he is?’ and ‘what he is?’ still forming so much of his character, but with a worldly jadedness of having been alive a further few hundred years. Considering this story was the start of the horror genre, everything was conducted with a lack of imagination here. It does a disservice to the original ultimately and it was a tame attempt at extending the story of Frankenstein (or Adam in this film, from the over the top religious connotations).
In closing, if you are fan of the original story of Frankenstein.. Then I, Frankenstein will be a disappointment.