This is the remake of the 1941 classic film of the same name. That original film was very popular and spawned a lot of sequels. I've never seen them or really any werewolf movies, but whatever magic they possessed is lost in this movie.
The movie is basically that a man transforms into a rapid beast, goes into a rampage, kills a bunch of people and then transforms back into a guilt-ridden man again. That's it. That's the whole movie. There's nothing else. I imagine in 1941 there wasn't the excess of blood and gore that we have, so the classic film needed something more, like dialogue or good acting. Not the case with this movie!
Oscar-winner Benicio del Toro plays Lawrence Talbot, a theater actor in 1891 who's come home to England after learning of his brother's death. He discovers that his brother was killed by a monster, a werewolf. He tries to stop the monster but gets biten. Infected, he later transforms into a werewolf himself.
Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins plays Sir John Talbot, the father and landowner who knows about the monster but doesn't care. He knows that his son has become one and rather oddly embraces it. Clearly, Sir John has some secrets and they become pretty obvious about half-way through the movie.
Like I said, I haven't seen too many werewolf movies, so I can't use them as a basis of comparison. However, I can liken this movie to a certain comic book fantasy.This film is the past participle of Hulk (2003). Take away the Victorian-era clothing and place the setting in modern-day San Francisco, and you basically have the Ang Lee-directed-Stan Lee-inspired, more cute and colorful monster movie.
Eric Bana who starred in Hulk isn't an Oscar-winner but I dare say he did a better acting job than del Toro here, if for no reason than he had more chemistry with his co-star. Here, Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) plays Gwen Talbot, the widow. Besides, just sitting around in mourning and then disappearing for a good chunk of the movie, the script doesn't really allow much interaction between her and del Toro. She seems to fall in love with him, but there's nothing, beyond Blunt's wide-eyes, to convince me of that. I think I was more convinced by the cartoon characters in Beauty and the Beast (1991).
If you're someone who just wants to go see the blood and gore as well as the bone-crunching metamorphosis of a man into a beast, then this movie can satisfy. Personally, Michael Jackson's transformation in his music video Thriller was scarier and more interesting to me than the one here, but that's just my opinion.