SPOILER WARNING: From this point on, there will be spoilers regarding storylines in Teen Wolf: The Movie.
When fans learned that Stiles Stilinski would not return to Beacon Hills, viewers worried about how Teen Wolf: The Movie would pan out. While Allison Argent’s resurrection was certainly enough to draw attention to the project, given Allison’s tragic death in season three, did the revival film deliver a solid return?
While Teen Wolf: The Movie behaves just like any other series episode in terms of story and crazy adventures, where the revival falls apart is its wish to return to the days of season 3B rather than address the fallout from the show’s series finale, or tell a completely new story.
Granted, it makes sense that if Teen Wolf: The Movie wanted to center one of its most significant plot points around Allison’s resurrection, it brought back the Nogitsune and the Oni, the villains responsible for her death. However, Stiles and Kira’s absences are even more noticeable due to the Nogitsune’s return, even if Stiles is only referenced a handful of times and Kira never at all.
Leaving out two of the most prominent characters with a direct connection to the returning villain also leaves plenty of confusion about the returning characters with a history with the Nogitsune. For example, Scott and Lydia, who had a vast history with the Nogitsune, would likely have been far more concerned given its previous possession of Stiles.
In the series finale, Dylan O’Brien reprises Void Stiles when the Anuk-Ite tries to get in Scott’s head to acknowledge the Nogitsune’s possession of Stiles as one of Scott’s greatest fears. Even Stilinski, Derek, and Melissa had some background recalling the Nogitsune’s possession.
But, the film takes pleasure in having the characters remind each other of things of massive significance, which they should remember even if it has been years. Why do Melissa, Argent, and Peter need to directly specify what the Nemeton is? It seems more for the audience’s benefit and exposition since the characters should remember these events and facts about their past.
The movie also seems to forget that Liam and Mason, who barely blink an eye at the Nogitsune and Oni, were not present in season 3B when that storyline took place, even if they heard stories about it.
Yet, none of that seems to matter. Even Liam’s appearance in the movie is basically a glorified cameo more than a substantial part, even with how important he was in the show.
Liam and Mason’s friendship does not get the screen time it needs, and it is noticeable that the film is missing the easy and fun camaraderie from the Scott and Stiles friendship.
Teen Wolf: The Movie should have devoted more time to explaining the aftermath of the series finale, considering how the show’s final moments found the McCall Pack dealing with the war against Monroe and a growing number of supernatural hunters.
Instead, the movie skips over that and any acknowledgment that such a brewing war happened at all. Rather than tell that story, Teen Wolf: The Movie is a bigger excuse to focus on Scott and Allison’s relationship and introduce Derek’s teenage son, Eli.
Somehow, Eli is considered more critical than Liam, with far more screen time, as a member of the Hale family who has yet to embrace his werewolf side. His character even gains a complete arc compared to long-time series regular Lydia Martin, whose big reveal that she may or may not have had a dangerous premonition about Stiles never gets a sense of closure.
Lydia’s explanation seems to be more of an excuse to give an answer about Stiles’ absence than a sense of how things would have played out for them. Stiles’ absence from Beacon Hills never gets a definite answer, either.
While Jackson’s return shows that he and Lydia continued to stay friends over time, his involvement does not amount to anything other than giving Lydia someone to bounce off of. However, Jackson’s relationship with Ethan gets a reference as well.
The revival even skips over an explanation for Scott and Malia’s failed romance and why both seem slightly awkward when they see each other.
Malia does not get a full definitive story arc ending either, and the film does not even end on a similar open-ended conclusion that the original series delivered.
Teen Wolf: The Movie relies on the Nogitsune as its central villain without the chaos and emotional depth that made season 3B so important to fans.
While the film throws in plenty of easter eggs toward the show, it is not enough to justify the direction the story chose or the bizarre plot twist the movie throws in later.
Although it may be fun to see the McCall Pack back together, Teen Wolf: The Movie does not quite hold the charisma and heart of the show.
Teen Wolf: The Movie is available to stream on Paramount+.