Movies like I, Frankenstein are pretty much why January is considered a dumping ground, as it’s a dumb with a capital D action movie that is full of insane, stupid mythology and B-level action.
Aaron Eckhart stars as Adam (Frankenstein?), the monster Victor Frankenstein creates and then hunts down. After a bare bones recap of the Frankenstein novel, the movie picks up with Adam burying Victor’s body and getting attacked by demons, only to be rescued by gargoyles. It turns out there is a war raging in secret between gargoyles and demons and Adam may play a key factor in it, but he has no interest and wanders around the world for another 200 years until he just up and decides to come back and hunt down the demon prince hunting him. Things keep getting dumber until Adam and the gargoyles have to stop Bill Nighy’s demon prince from unleashing an army of Frankensteins on the world. Most of the plot is doled out either in voice overs by Aaron Eckhart or in dense exposition dumps by Miranda Otto’s gargoyle queen, Lenore or Billy Nighy’s Naberius. It’s all treated dead serious as well, which makes it all the more ridiculous. Aaron Eckhart growls his way, Christian Bale style, through the entire movie. Rounding out the cast, Yvonne Strahovski plays Dr. Terra Wade, an “electrophysiologist” which is probably one of the dumbest fake science fields I’ve ever heard, and Jai Courtney is the main warrior gargoyle, Gabriel.
The action is pretty run of the mill for the most part with plenty of slo mo and fake martial arts. Somehow, Adam taught himself Kenpo, as he is super skilled with a pair of sacred short staffs. The one thing that the movie constantly uses is the fact that when demons die, they burst into a geyser of flames and descend to Hell while gargoyles ascend in a beam of light to heaven. What’s hilarious is that, right before the first massive battle, Lenore berates Adam for fighting “out in the open” with some demons and, not five minutes later, demons and gargoyles are dying in massive pyrotechnic displays in the middle of whatever city this movie takes place in (I wanted to say Paris because the gargoyles seem to be housed in Notre Dame but then everyone has English accents). How no one has noticed this in the centuries of this “hidden war” is one of the many questions you’ll find yourself thinking while watching this movie? (Another is, when did Adam have time to get a haircut, do P90x and buy a fashionable hoodie?) Another weird, dumb detail that I enjoyed is that apparently you can monitor reanimation as a percentage and the demons have apparently stolen every single body in Europe to become part of their undead army. There is some decent practical effects for the demons when they fully transform and the gargoyle transitions are kind of cool the first couple of times you see it.
I, Frankenstein may be worth a rent if you have some alcohol and friends around to make fun of it and dissect what the hell is happening but otherwise, it’s a pretty boring, dumb, knock off of about a half dozen other movies. The funnest part of the movie is trying to explain the plot and figure out the mythology and ripping into the more ridiculous aspects but if you’re looking for a straight action movie, this isn’t it.