Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #15 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Now that we’ve reached the halfway point I wanted to review a film that has been on the list for while which is the 2005 film version of Constantine.
This is one of those films I never knew much about upon its initial release, it wasn’t until my late teens that I found out what it was and how it was based on a comic book series. I’ve been meaning to watch this for years but just never had the time or interest to sit down and give it a watch. So with the TV show from last year being cancelled recently it feels like a convenient yet perfect time to talk about this film adaptation from 10 years ago.
The story can be summed up as the following:
“John Constantine is a cynic with the ability to perceive and communicate with half-angels and half-demons in their true form. He seeks salvation from eternal damnation in Hell for a suicide attempt in his youth. Constantine exorcises demons back to Hell in a bid to earn favor with Heaven but has become weary over time. With death looming, he helps a troubled police detective learn the truth about her sister’s death while simultaneously unraveling a much larger and darker plot.”
The story is alright but not very engaging. This kind of supernatural action stuff is right up my ally, I like films or TV shows that deal with life and death, demons and monsters and takes the basic principles of what the bible has taught about angels and devils and is able to create its own mythology. But this film just doesn’t present any of that in a good way, it’s interesting at times, but none of it feels very cool or informative, actually at times I didn’t know what was going on because there was little information given for why certain things were happening. But the main issue I had with this film was that it was boring, yes boring, offensively boring. The worst offense a film can commit is bordem and believe i was feeling it from the beginning. I didn’t care about John or Angela or the big deal with the Spear of Destiny because everything felt so dull, cryptic, monotone and there was no tension or suspense. Maybe it was just a bad day to watch a film, maybe it was because I was pretty tired, but this story did nothing for me.
Now let’s talk about the cast. Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, wow what a bore. I do like Keanu Reeves but he was the wrong man to play Constantine, the character from the comics from what I’ve researched is a bit more douche, lively and charismatic and has a way with words, but Reeves’ version of the character has none of that. Beyond the comparison to the comics, Constantine is a moody guy with no personality, relatable traits or cool one-liners, he has nothing that makes me care about him so when he’s in danger or dying, I don’t care. Rachel Weisz was slighty better as Angela Dodson, though I wasn’t keen on her or what she was doing when looking into the death of her sister, the only thing that kept me watching was Weisz. She’s one of my favourite actresses and she made this character tolerable. Tilda Swinton as Gabriel was interesting, Swinton was good and she was probably the most redeeming aspect of this film. Shia LaBeouf is alright but severely underused as Chas Kramer, Pruitt Taylor Vince as Father Hennessy was decent but his character made me laugh more than anything else (definitely unintentionally) and Djimon Hounsou was interesting as Papa Midnite, but I would have liked to have seen more of him to get a sense of his abilities. Peter Stormare as Lucifer was decent but over the top and cartoonish, and he made me feel uncomfortable.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is nice with its action scenes and the visual effects used for the monsters and depiction of hell is cool, however the colour palette of this film feel very orange/sepia and washed out and I would have liked a more varied colour palatte and unique art direction given to creatures. As for the soundtrack by Klaus Badelt and Brian Tyler, it was good but nothing memorable.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well I’ve never read any of the source material so I can’t comment on it personally, but from what I’ve heard from fans of the source material it wasn’t very faithful at all, I guess that’s why we got the TV show that did much better despite getting cancelled.
So to conclude Constantine is a film that just didn’t do anything for me. I know some that don’t think it was too bad and some that actually enjoy it, but for me the story felt long-winded and didn’t make much sense at all, the characters were semi decent and the action while good was nothing mind-blowing. I know I won’t be watching this again any time soon.
That’s 15 reviews done, only 15 more to go. So have you seen Constantine and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!