By Sean Gardner
Comic book movies are a dime a dozen these days. Studios churn them off the assembly lines at an alarming pace. But I want to take you back to a time before the summer movie season turned into a geek paradise, back to a fun little supernatural action movie starring Keanu Reeves.
That movie is Constantine. It came out at a time (2005) when comic book movies had not quite hit it big yet. In fact, I would venture to say most people probably didn’t (and still don’t) know it is based on a comic book. But back then, comic book movies were a bit of an anomaly. Im early 2005, Spider-Man and X-Men were the two biggest superhero franchises and they only had two movies apiece. Even Batman Begins was still 4 months away, so Hollywood was in the infancy of the current comics craze.
Studios were basically throwing darts to see what they could get away with when it came to superheroes. They didn’t really know which ones would stick and which ones wouldn’t. Constantine is a product of that dart throwing, and it’s not quite a bullseye. The story is somewhat muddled. Some of the things the characters do don’t make sense. It seems like it suffered from a lack of thought, like the studio wanted to put it out as quickly as possible.
It does have some redeeming qualities however. Keanu Reeves is the perfect person to play John Constantine. Fresh off of playing Neo in The Matrix, he plays a similar character here. Reeves knows what kind of movie he’s in and plays Constantine accordingly. He leans into the somewhat cartoonish nature which makes it more fun to watch, knowing that Reeves probably had a lot of fun making it. Shia LeBeouf also shows up for s little bit playing basically the same sidekick character he did in I, Robot.
Its not The Dark Knight, but it’s not trying to be either. It’s a dumb fun action movie that is perfectly serviceable as a Saturday afternoon pass time activity.