There’s something to be said about watching a movie and not having any knowledge of the source material. This last week I was home sick from work and surfing Netflix, sometimes this can be a lethal combo. I decided to give Constantine (2005) another view. When I watched it originally, I loved it. I never read a Constantine comic and had an unhealthy love for Keanu Reeves and Shia LaBeouf so the misalignment from the comics never really bothered me, let’s just call it “blissful ignorance”. Now, fast forward 13 years, I’ve had the opportunity to see Matt Ryan’s portrayal in the short lived NBC show, his small arc on Arrow, DC’s animated master piece, Justice League Dark, and most recently CW seeds, Constantine: City of Demons. After a second viewing, though the Constantine film is enjoyable, I believe I’ve been spoiled by Matt Ryan. His snarky sarcasm was lost in the film and is one of the reasons why Constantine has become such an enjoyable character.
Now, Keanu Reeves is not “bad” per se, it’s just not the same, but “not the same” does not make for a bad movie. Reeves is perfectly cast for THIS iteration of the character. His brooding, devil may care persona is a staple of Keanu’s work and probably what the director and writers were going for. The character would not, however, be suited for a episodic model and works when there is a solid beginning, middle, and end.
Shia LaBeouf as Chas Kramer is enjoyable. Although he is not in a lot of the movie, he brings a much needed comedic element to the movie that would have otherwise been lost. The one downside to the character is how fast and easily he was killed. His best moments are when he is interacting with Djimon Hounsou’s Midnite.
The weak point comes from our female lead, Rachel Weisz, who is pulling double duty as Isabel & Angela Dodson, and is arguably one of the low points of the Mummy franchise. The casting department for Constantine evidently overlooked that and cast her anyways. I believe my biggest issue with her is how quickly she goes from depressed and cowardly sister, to heroine within minutes.
All in all, Constantine is an enjoyable, yet flawed film and should be enjoyed for what it is.
Constantine gets a 3 out of 5 cushions on the Cruncher Couch.
Supernatural detective John Constantine helps a policewoman prove her sister’s death was not a suicide, but something more.
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Written by: Jamie Delano & Garth Ennis (comic book “Hellblazer”)
Staring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou
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