Before meeting Dr. Victor Frankenstein, then-nameless Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) worked as a clown and a physician for a traveling circus. Due to his hunchback, everyone treats him poorly, but Igor is very smart and draws beautifully detailed pictures of human anatomy in his spare time. While performing in London, an aerialist named Lorelai (Jessica Brown Findlay) falls from her trapeze. Victor and Igor rush to her aid, and Igor impresses the doctor by saving Lorelei’s life. That night the circus owner locks Igor in a cage for drawing portraits of himself and Victor. Victor liberates Igor, and most of the circus performers chase them. One dies in the melee. Back at his townhome-slash-laboratory, Victor deduces that the hunch on Igor’s back is a cyst. He drains it and puts Igor in a harness to correct his posture: Igor can stand for the first time in his life. Victor descends to his basement laboratory, leaving Igor to clean himself up.
The next morning Inspector Turpin (Andrew Scott) and his colleague Alistair investigate the murder of the circus worker. Turpin discovers Igor’s sketches and a bag that Victor dropped the night before: it contains a lion’s paw. Turpin turns the sketches into wanted posters: the men are wanted for murder. Turpin tells Alistair he believes neither Igor nor Victor killed the circus performer. However, over the past several months, a mysterious man matching Victor’s description has been buying and stealing animals parts all over London. Turpin, a devout man, believes Victor is up to something blasphemous.
Later, Igor finds the hospital where Lorelei was taken. He pays a maid to look after Lorelei. On his way back to Victor’s townhouse, he sees the wanted posters and panics. When Victor returns home from college, he assures Igor that the authorities are looking for a hunchbacked clown, not the “new” Igor. Victor tells Igor his life’s work is to reverse death’s permanence. He shows Igor his latest experiment: the eyes of a man who died months ago. By preserving the eyes in a conductive liquid and attaching them to electric wires, he can reanimate them by flipping a switch. The eyes come to life, and Igor corrects a mistake Victor made. Victor is impressed and grateful.
Victor and Igor embark on reanimating different organs: lungs, a heart, etcetera. Weeks pass, and Lorelei finds a benefactor, so her life also improves. After Igor reanimates a pair of lungs, Victor takes him to a high-society soiree. Victor becomes drunk and makes a nuisance of himself with his friends. Igor sees Lorelei. At first she does not recognize him, but when she does, she greets him warmly. She now masquerades as the mistress of a gay baron. Victor interrupts their reunion and behaves rudely towards Lorelei. Although he intrigues her by talking about the reversal of death, she much prefers Igor. At the end of the night, Victor warns Igor about becoming too close to Lorelei, calling her a distraction.
Soon thereafter, Victor takes Igor into his basement laboratory and shows him Gordon: the corpse of a gruesome chimpanzee-hybrid, made up parts he stole or purchased from zoos. Thanks to Igor’s innovations, Victor now believes he can reanimate Gordon by charging him with electricity. Igor’s confusion turns to absolute shock when Victor shocks Gordon and brings the creature back to life. The next day, Victor presents Gordon and his experiment to at his college. Few people attend the lecture, and the audience includes Lorelei (whom Igor invited) and Finnegan (Freddie Fox), Victor’s snobbish wealthy classmate. Initially, Victor cannot resuscitate Gordon, much to Finnegan’s sneering delight. Lorelei looks disgusted by the proceedings.
When Victor beats his equipment, however, the machinery shocks Gordon again, reviving him. Gordon goes berserk and tries to attack Igor and Lorelei. He escapes the classroom, so Igor chases him through the building. Eventually Igor corners Gordon in a stairwell, and when the two topple over the banister, they also plummet to their deaths. Victor finds them and pulls them to safety, though. At Igor’s existence, he crushes Gordon’s head, ending his second life. Later, Turpin arrives at the college to inspect the damage Gordon inflicted. Finnegan visits Victor and Igor at Victor’s townhouse. He commissions them to resurrect a human. Igor wants nothing to do with Finnegan, but Victor overrules him. Later, Turpin and Alistair pay them a visit. Turpin takes Victor to task for his experiment with Gordon. He wants to search the doctor’s home, but Victor tells him to get a legal warrant. Turpin and Victor clash over God and religion -- Victor disdains Turpin’s Christianity -- and part on very bad terms.
The next day, Igor meets Lorelei for a walk through the bustling streets of London. She tells him how uneasy Victor’s experiments make her: she believes Victor goes too far. Igor finds it difficult to chastise Victor because he believes he owes everything he has become to the doctor. Lorelei disagrees; Igor has always been kind and brilliant. Igor agrees he will speak to Victor. When he returns to the townhouse, he meets Mr. Frankenstein (Charles Dance), the doctor’s father. Mr. Frankenstein has come to inform his son that he has been expelled from the college. Igor overhears him tell Victor that now he has ruined his own life as opposed to that of his brother. Mr. Frankenstein’s insults devastate Victor, and Igor decided not to voice his concerns. Instead, he snaps Victor out of his melancholy by pointing out that his sketches of Prometheus (the reanimated corpse) are too small. In order to make a reanimated body that can sustain a charge, they need to build a very large human. Victor’s enthusiasm returns. He and Igor believe that if they put two hearts and two sets of lungs into Prometheus and revive him via lightning, they could reanimate him. Igor sees Victor’s pocket watch and asks if it belonged to someone he loved.
Victor and Igor work feverishly on building Prometheus. One night Igor goes to a dance with Lorelei. They have a wonderful time, and she takes him upstairs for some privacy. They spend the night together. Meanwhile, Turpin’s rage towards Victor grows. The following morning, when Igor returns from Lorelei’s party, he finds Turpin and a gang of policemen trying to break down the front door of Victor’s townhouse. Igor sneaks and side and tells Victor they need to run. Victor has sent for one of Finnegan’s carriages, but he wants to destroy his machines before they leave. Turpin sneaks in behind Igor and pulls a gun on the two men. Victor manages to knock him into one of his machines, and Turpin screams in agony as his hand is caught in a heavy gear. Victor and Igor escape through an underground passage and flee in Finnegan’s carriage. Turpin bursts from Victor’s house, having lost his hand and an eye, just in time to see the Finnegan family crest on the carriage.
Finnegan doesn’t seem to mind that Victor and Igor are wanted by the police. He sends them to his family’s castle in Scotland. When Igor refuses to go, Victor turns on him. He insults Igor, claiming Igor will never be accepted by society on his own. As Igor watches his former mentor leave, Finnegan’s men sneak up behind him. They throw a bag over his head and bind his hands and legs. Finnegan has them throw Igor off of Westminster Bridge, explaining that he wants his family to control Victor’s life-giving technology. He needs to clean up loose ends. Igor manages to untie his feet and swim to the surface. He goes to Lorelei, who nurses him back to health. After he recovers, Igor realizes he has Victor’s watch. Victor told Igor that, as a child, he and his older brother went outside to play in the snow. A blizzard blew in without warning, and his brother Henry died. Victor has always felt responsible for taking his brother’s life. Igor decides to go to Scotland to stop Victor’s experiment, and Lorelei insists upon traveling with him.
When Igor and Lorelei arrive at Finnegan’s isolated castle, they encounter an army of guards. Lorelei distracts them while Igor sneaks past them. When Lorelei tries to leave, Turpin materializes out of nowhere. He didn’t have a warrant to search Victor’s home and was fired. He is desperate to stop Victor’s “Satanic” work. Inside the castle, Victor and Finnegan prepare for Prometheus’s resurrection. A lightning storm brews and they have strapped the body into a cage attached to electrical wires. When Igor tries to stop Victor, Victor dismisses him. Turpin also manages to sneak into the castle in time to see lightning strike the body. Slowly, but unmistakably, the chest rises and falls. Finnegan and Victor rejoice, but when more lightning strikes the tower, the machinery explodes. Finnegan falls to his death.
Turpin draws a gun on Victor, but both men are distracted when they realize Prometheus’s cage is empty. Victor declares that there is no God, only man. Victor, Turpin, and Igor see Prometheus standing across the tower. Victor runs over to it while Turpin threatens to shoot. The creature moves slowly and does not react to Victor. The doctor quickly realizes what a mistake he has made: he has not created life at all. Turpin shoots Prometheus, and it attacks Victor in a rage. When Turpin continues to shoot Prometheus, it kills him. Igor jumps into the fray and stabs Prometheus through the heart with a spike. The creature collapses, but Victor reminds Igor that Prometheus has two hearts. It roars back to life just as Igor stabs its second heart. Igor collapses out of exhaustion. When he awakens the next morning, Lorelei stands over him. She has a letter from Victor. Victor figures that Igor has had enough of him. He apologizes for being cruel to Igor but also calls Igor his finest creation. Lorelei and Igor embrace. Somewhere in the Scottish countryside, Victor sets out on a new adventure.
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