Movie Review: Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie (2023)

Synopsis: Despite showing improvement after solving his wife, Trudy's murder, the pandemic caused Adrian Monk to regress, and he now plans on killing himself after Trudy's daughter, Molly, is married. However, a day before the wedding, Molly's fiancé, Griffin is killed while bungee jumping. While a coroner's inquiry determined it was an accident, Molly believes Griffin was killed by Rick Eden, a billionaire and wannabe astronaut Griffin was about to expose for murder. Even though he isn't convinced by Molly's theory, he delays his suicide so he can investigate and bring her closure.

Who's in it? The movie stars Tony Shalhoub, Traylor Howard, Ted Levine, James Purefoy and Caitlin McGee.


Review: I used to be a huge fan of the television series Monk and still occasionally watch reruns when I can't find anything else on TV. So, when I heard there was going to be a movie based on the series, I was intrigued albeit a bit skeptical. I finally had a chance to watch it tonight and it proved to be satisfactory.

I thought Monk's (Shalhoub) mystery was intriguing. It was clear who the murderer was, and he even confesses to the crime at one point. However, in true Monk fashion, the murder method was unclear, especially since Griffin (Austin Scott) had measured and assembled the bungee cord himself and there was no evidence of tampering.

I also thought the movie did a good job reuniting the main characters from the series, minus Sharona (Bitty Schram) and Julie Teeger (Emmy Clarke) and making sure they had just enough to do to put them in roles that were slightly more than a cameo (though they don't actually contribute a whole lot to the investigation in my opinion) without bogging down the movie. A lot of other reunion films like this spend too much time providing exposition about characters following the series finale. This one provided just enough details to give a good picture without making it too much of a focus.

I think my biggest problem with this movie, other than Leeland Stottlemeyer (Levine) looking a bit weird (my wife and I thought he looked like he was wearing a mask), was the film was more than a little depressing. And this wasn't just Monk's downward spiral. I was getting surprisingly angry at his "friends" who probably should have figured out his plan, considering he wasn't too secretive about it.  At minimum, you would think Dr. Bell (Hector Elizondo) would have picked up on the clues. 

Normally, I would appreciate this kind of emotional roller coaster in a movie but considering the series was a comedy, it was a lot darker than expected and the jokes that were in the film just weren't as funny considering his state of mind. It also made the ending, which should have been a happy one, a little less conclusive because it still leaves the door open to him eventually taking his own life. Not to mention, that whole talking to dead people thing probably should be somewhat concerning as well.

Final Opinion: The movie was better than I was expecting, and I thought it was a good mystery (despite being able to correctly guess at how the murder was carried out). I just wish the film would have left out the suicidal Monk storyline or at least toned it down a little bit.

My Grade: B

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