Constantine (2005)

constantine-keanu-reeves-poster
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Sometimes great visuals, Tilda Swinton

Keanu Reeves, changes to character, overly complex storyline

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Constantine

Studio:  Village Roadshow Pictures

Genre(s):  Superhero/Horror/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  February 18, 2005

MPAA Rating:  R

constantine-keanu-reeves-mirror-trap

Reflection of the way life used to be…

John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) walks the line between light and dark.  Able to see angel and demons, a suicide attempt means his soul is damned.  Now Constantine exorcises demons in the hope to get into Heaven.  Constantine has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and is living on borrowed time.  When he uncovers a plot for demons to rule the Earth, Constantine and his associates must save a girl named Angela (Rachel Weisz) who might be the key to saving the Earth.

Directed by Francis Lawrence, Constantine adapts the Hellblazer:  Original Sins by Jamie Delano and Hellblazer:  Dangerous Habits by Garth Ennis.  The film was met by mixed to positive reviews, but since its release has gained a bit of a cult following.

constantine-keanu-reeves-rachel-weiss-hellblazer

Step near me, and I will take off your head….

John Constantine was created by Alan Moore for The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 (June 1985).  The character eventually graduated to his own comic in Hellblazer #1 (January 1988) which ran for years.  The character was an Englishman and blonde…something that the film changed.  The decision to call the film Constantine instead of Hellblazer was to avoid confusion with Hellraiser and Hellboy.  The character is known for his humor and sarcasm…something that seemed a bit lost in the film.

Constantine’s voice as an Englishman carried the sarcasm and humor much better.  Some stated that Keanu was the reason for the change, but that happened before he was brought on (Nicholas Cage and Tarsem Singh were originally teamed to the movie).  Keanu just doesn’t have what I needed for the character.  Fortunately, the movie backs him up with a decent cast which includes Tilda Swinton as the angel Gabriel, Peter Stormare as Lucifer, Shia LaBeouf as the sidekick Chas Kramer, Djimon Hounsou as hoodoo master Papa Midnite, and Rachel Weiss as Angela Dodson (and her twin sister Isabel).

constantine-tilda-swinton-gabriel-angel-wings

I am not a nice angel!

Visually, sometimes the movie looks quite good and other times it seems cheap and half-baked.  The movie’s darkness works in scenes where a girl is found clinging to the ceiling possessed and some of the other battles with demons.  Hell is a rather interesting visual, and I love Tilda Swinton’s Gabriel.  I sometimes found the editing rather confusing and some of the action scenes didn’t work as a result.

Constantine isn’t a bad movie but it could have been so much better.  The movie was a financial success, and it was rather surprising that a second film didn’t follow.  DC did follow Constantine with a TV series premiering 2014 on NBC with Matt Ryan playing John Constantine but the series failed to catch on.

Related Links:

Hellblazer 1:  Original Sins

Constantine 1:  The Spark and the Flame

Constantine 2:  Blight

Constantine 3:  The Voice in the Fire

Constantine 4:  The Apocalypse Road

 

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response