In 1799, Doctor Frankenstein (Aden Young) creates a monster (Aaron Eckhart) out of parts of corpses, but he is horrified by the result and tries to destroy it. It survives and kills his wife Elizabeth. Frankenstein chases his creation into the Arctic, but he dies in the cold. The monster returns home to bury Frankenstein and is attacked by Demons but is saved by two Gargoyles—Ophir (Mahesh Jadu) and Keziah (Caitlin Stasey). They bring him to a cathedral, where he meets the Gargoyle Queen Lenore (Miranda Otto) and Gideon (Jai Courtney). They were created by the archangel Michael to protect Earth from Demons. The Queen calls him Adam, and he is invited to join them, but he declines. He is given weapons because demons will attack him. The Gargoyle Order’s weapons will send the Demon souls back down to Hell.
For two hundred years, Adam lives alone, hiding from Demons and killing them to defend himself. Eventually, he decides to confront them head on, and in the fight, a cop is killed. The Gargoyles decide to lock up Adam. A Demon named Helek (Steve Mouzakis) reports Adam’s existence to the Demon Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy), who is disguised as a billionaire businessman named Charles Wessex. His scientists Terra Wade (Yvonne Strahovski) and Carl Avery (Nicholas Bell) are doing research in the reanimation of dead matter. He sends a party of Demons led by Zuriel (Socratis Otto) to attack the Gargoyles in their cathedral and capture Adam.
In the assault, 16 Gargoyles and many Demons are killed. Gargoyles Ophir and Keziah are ascended to heaven. Zuriel captures Lenore and takes her to an abandoned theater. They wish to turn in Adam, but he escapes. So, he trades Frankenstein’s journal to the Wessex Institute for Terra’s life and discovers that Naberius has collected thousands of corpses and plans to animate them as hosts for Demons to destroy humanity. Adam steals back the journal and escapes with it. He tracks down Terra and asks her for help. They are attacked by Zuriel and Adam “descends” him.
Adam warns the remaining Gargoyles of Naberius’ plan and offers to give the journal back to the Gargoyles if they get him and Terra to safety. Lenore agrees but plans to betray Adam, sending Gideon to kill him. Deciding to destroy the journal, Adam leads them to the Wessex Institute, where they battle Demons, descending Dekar (Kevin Grevioux)). Adam tries to rescue Terra, who has been forced to begin reanimating corpses. Naberius overpowers Adam and tries to have him possessed, but Adam has developed a soul of his own. Adam carves the Gargoyle symbol on Namerius and descends him to Hell. The Institute collapses and falls into an abyss where the Demons are destroyed. Before leaving, Adam calls himself Frankenstein.
The film was written and directed by Stuart Beattie, based on a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, who plays the Demon Dekar. Filmed in Australia and the U.S., it was produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, Andrew Mason, and Sidney Kimmer. It was not well received and was not a box-office success. According to the director, Adam earned a soul when he burned Frankenstein’s journal. The Archangels sent Adam to the Gargoyles to help them. Throughout, various characters either referred to Adam as “he” or “it”. Eckhart and others trained for three months in the Filipino martial art of Kali. The film was panned by critics as loud, incoherent, and listless. The public tended to agree. Naturally, there were plans for a series which were dropped.
When the Gargoyle Queen finds Adam unconscious but saved, she says, “It’s alive!” Gradually, as he becomes more human, the monster’s face becomes less scarred and monstrous. Before that, of course, Eckhart takes his shirt off and shows his muscles nicely defined by patchwork scars. The makeup of the demons was a big job—thirty different designs, but all related. The movie has very little to do with the Frankenstein story, but I was surprised by how much I liked it, especially the gargoyles, who change from stone statues to winged angels and back again. The sets are gorgeous, particularly their cathedral. Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy command attention throughout. There is angst and action, fights and battles. When Adam says he is a monster, Terra says, “You’re only a monster if you behave like one.”