You’d be forgiven for thinking, from the title, that I, Frankenstein is a retelling of Mary Shelley’s gothic story of Dr. Frankenstein creating his reanimated monster. Instead, it’s an incredibly loose sequel to the story that turns the monster into a brooding hulk, caught up in a centuries-old war between demons and gargoyles.
Yes, gargoyles. It turns out every gargoyle is actually an angel in disguise, able to animate themselves when humans aren’t looking, so that they can wage a war against Satan’s cast-down demons. Frankenstein’s monster, later dubbed Adam, is of great importance to both sides, who take turns trying to convince him to join their team.
I, Frankenstein feels more in the vein of the vampires-versus-werewolves movie Underworld than Frankenstein, which makes sense; they were both co-written by Kevin Grevioux. It’s not just the writing, either. The movies even look the same.
The familiarity of the visual style and the supernatural war could be forgiven, if I, Frankenstein bothered to make any sense at all. It maintains a level of stupidity throughout that seems almost unbelievable. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but so many things about I, Frankenstein are so poor, it’s hard to believe the filmmakers weren’t trying to make a bad movie.
Aaron Eckhart has no personality as Adam, and grumbles every line like he learned acting by watching Christian Bale as Batman. Yvonne Strahovski, playing a bland scientist who aids Adam, makes for one of the least believable scientists this side of Denise Richards in The World is Not Enough. Only Bill Nighy (on loan from the Underworld series) shows the slightest bit of a performance as the demon prince Naberius – but even he can only do so much.
If you saw the commercials or trailers for I, Frankenstein and thought the movie looked really cool, you’ll probably get exactly what you want and be satisfied with the final product. If your first impression of I, Frankenstein was that it looked pretty bad, trust your instincts and don’t bother. It’s even worse than it looked.