Hot Take: At some point early on, I was hooked on Victor Frankenstein. Then, about half way through, I realized how bad of an idea this really was. Then, no matter what I did, it wouldn’t stop. It’s funny how life can imitate art sometimes.
The opening act of Victor Frankenstein — the origin story of how Victor and Igor met as imagined by screenwriter Max Landis — gives the film unexpected promise. “Maybe,” you think, “this is a story worth the twist.” As the film progresses, the plot unravels, hopes diminish and the movie, much like the monster’s head, flattens.
There’s mad genius in the retelling of Victor Frankenstein but, unfortunately, the genius is fleeting and the high points are few and far between. Despite excellent acting by James McAvoy (as Victor) and Daniel Radcliffe (as Igor), it’s hard not to see a little bit of young Charles Xavier in McAvoy’s portrayal and a sprinkle of Harry Potter in Radcliffe’s performance. The London setting doesn’t help either. By the end, you’re just waiting for someone to shout, “Expecto patronum!”
Unfortunately, despite its strong start, Victor Frankenstein struggles to the finish. By the middle of the third act, you’ll probably be ready for this tiresome tale to end.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- The Chemistry of McAvoy and Radcliffe
The pair work together well and their camaraderie is obvious. It gives a genuine feel to the relationship of Victor and Igor.
- The Opening Act
If somehow the film captured the imagination through it’s entirety as it does in the first 20-30 minutes, we’d have a winning formula. Disappointingly, the rest of the movie made lazy decisions and basically harvested parts from other films we’ve already seen before.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Been There, Done That
While Victor Frankenstein diverts from the path of the original idea, it chooses to repeat ideas already repeated dozens of times in other films. It’s basically a copy of a copy of a copy and anyone who has ever spent time around a Xerox machine knows that’s going to greatly reduce the quality of the final product.
So, Victor Frankenstein isn’t about Frankenstein’s monster like other Frankenstein films but it really isn’t about Victor, either? It’s kind of more about Igor? Huh?
- Did We Really Need the Sequel Tease?
Note to Hollywood: Stop writing movies with a sequel in mind.