This might be just because of me playing/seeing a lot of things recently with wolves/wolf-like monsters as plot-significant bad guys (specifically, Thor Ragnarok, Call of Duty: WWII, The Long Dark, and (horror indie game spoilers) Observer), but does anybody else think that wolves are being used as villains a bit too much in recent years? Obviously there’s a very long and unfortunate precedent for wolves to be evil or symbols of evil for a variety of historical reasons, but it feels like there was a period of time when popular media was cooling off on that which abruptly reversed around the time stuff like The Grey got released. There’s other animals that get this kind of targeting (see sharks whenever there’s a movie or game about the ocean) but it feels like there’s been a surge in stuff about evil wolves over the past few years, with stories being designed in unusual ways to justify stuffing a wolf attack in somewhere, like in The Bourne Legacy or The Day After Tomorrow. Even if there’s an evil canine in media that is not explicitly referred to as a wolf, they’re usually designed in a manner that immediately evokes a wolf, such as the robot dogs in Transformers 4.
For Call of Duty in particular, every other game since Ghosts (so Ghosts, Black Ops 3 and WWII) has had a hostile encounter setpiece/cutscene with a wolf or a pack of wolves that’s given a surprising amount of significance compared to hostile encounters with dogs in the series. It’s as if they’re some kind of primal evil that needs to be dealt with using lots of bullets. In addition, the wolf in CoD WWII has narrative parallels with a Nazi officer at the end of the game that really made me roll my eyes when I saw where things were going.
In Thor Ragnarok, there’s mythological and comics-based reasons to include Fenris, but I feel the movie really stretched things in order to get Fenris in as a villain that was sided against Loki, especially since Hela already had a hound named Garmr that could have been used instead. There was already some significant shuffling around of character relations (Hela’s status as a child of Odin instead of being one of Loki’s children in the myths and the comics), but Fenris has always been more strongly associated with Loki.
Am I looking way too much into all of this, or are we using wolves as evil bad things too much? For example, I don’t see lions being used as villains nearly as often as wolves do, and in the strange situations where lions and wolves are present, the lions are usually presented as the “good” animals, contrasting with the wolves who are apparently every flavor of shitty.
It might be that I’m just not watching/playing the right stuff, I definitely feel I should pick up Okami HD as soon as that comes out.