Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Ultimate Superhero List 4: "Constantine"

Hell wants him. Heaven won't take him.
Earth needs him. The script hates him.

For the Love of God

      Constantine is a 2005 film based on the DC/Vertigo comic book series Hellblazer. With a new television adaptation on it's way to NBC, I figured it was a good time to look at this not-quite-superhero. Directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and written by Kevin Brodbin (Mindhunters) and Frank A. Cappello (He Was a Quiet Man), the film follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective that hunts for supernatural creatures in order to send them back to hell, in order to gain favor from God and attempt to get back into Heaven after having committed suicide. His latest case finds him helping police detective Angela (Rachel Weisz) get to the bottom of her sister's suicide and stop the Spear of Destiny from falling into the wrong hands. Along with his apprentice Chas (Shia LaBeouf), paranormal night club owner Midnite (Djimon Hounsou) and angel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton), Constantine sets off to save the planet.

Constantine, raining on demons parades.
All About the Style

      I'll give it this. Constantine is a very good looking movie. When Constantine picks up his golden crossbow/shotgun cross gun firing golden relic bullets at a bunch of demons as holy water rains down on them all, the movie crosses over many different types of "Holy shit that's awesome". The film's depictions of Hell as a version of wherever you died but constantly being partially dissolved by a nuclear bomb is fantastic. Reeves himself just looks cool as the suit-wearing soft-speaking bad-ass that kills demons and he backs it up with a solid performance. But, man is this movie poorly written. Look, I love movies that do completely ridiculous things without a single hint of irony. But I also like things to be explained to him. I don't need a movie to spell things out, but when Constantine sticks his feet in a pot of water, grabs a cat, stares into it's eyes and gets sent to hell because of it, a little explanation would be nice.

A Matter of Fact

      And the whole film is full of scenes like that. And sure, it's all cool, but it's also all convoluted and kinda silly. The story falters with the fact that I, at least, was never fully sure of what was going on at a given point. The film seemingly bent it's own rules whenever it felt like it for the sake of moving the plot forward. And as a result, I never really got into the story. The stakes never felt high enough. Constantine, not matter the problem, could most likely supernatural his way out of the situation. And sure enough, that's just what he does. There were really three states of mind I was in while watching Constantine; "That was cool", "What was that" and Man, I'm bored". And unfortunately, the latter two outweighed the first one.

Football is Hell is so cool.
The Verdict

      Constantine is at the very least watchable, thanks to solid performances by the whole cast, Reeves especially, great visuals and an interesting world. However, a weak script that fails to provide adequate explanations for the film's bizarre twists and turns, as while at a story that falls usually in the dull category, stop Constantine from being as good as the visuals would make us hope. Constantine gets 3 stars out of 6. 

No comments:

Post a Comment