I like to think of I, Frankenstein as a spin-off of The Dark Knight (2008). After Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent turns into “Two-Face” and falls off that building, his memory is wiped and he believes he’s Frankenstein’s monster, caught in a war between angels and demons. At least, that’s what I chose to believe while watching Aaron Eckhart do his best Batman impression in this Stuart Beattie-directed film, adapted from the classic Mary Shelley book and a Kevin Grevioux graphic novel.
After a quick montage outlining how Frankenstein’s monster (Eckhart) killed his creator’s wife (and indirectly Dr. Frankenstein himself), he is attacked by demons, but saved by the Gargoyle Order. He is then named Adam and learns of the battle between angels (that are Gargoyles), led by Leonore (Miranda Otto), and demons (that are nameless faces in suits), led by Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy). To maintain a PG-13 rating, there is very little blood. Instead, the demons “descend” – by turning into orange beams of light; the angels “ascend” – by turning into blue beams of light. At 92 minutes, I, Frankenstein is small in scope. This works to the film’s advantage though. While I, Frankenstein feels like it ends too quickly, it maintains a fast pace throughout.
It’s nothing too innovative, but the special effects in the film are fun to look at. The creature designs are one-note but nonetheless interesting. The fight choreography is also very solid. The Wolverine (2013) Director of Photography Ross Emery does the cinematography, and it’s dark but aesthetically pleasing.
All of the actors in I, Frankenstein look like they’re having a great time. The characters are one-dimensional, but the performances are fun. Bill Nighy plays the villain, and he’s a joy to watch. Aaron Eckhart’s talents are wasted here, but he’s anything but apathetic.
I, Frankenstein has a very serious tone, but I don’t think you should watch it as a very serious film. The movie becomes much more entertaining when you laugh along with the over-the-top performances and absurd plot. I don’t know if campy was the goal or not, but everyone involved clearly put in a lot of effort. Eckhart trained for six months to handle all of the fight choreography. While passionate filmmaking doesn’t necessarily bring good results on a technical level, it typically makes a film much more exciting. I, Frankenstein may not be a “great” movie, but it certainly isn’t boring. How much you’ll enjoy it depends on how serious you take it. 5/10