Friday, June 04, 2021

Rapid Review - Constantine (2005)

When I first heard about this movie, I was not at all impressed or interested. First off, I didn't really read Hellblazer, and thus John Constantine was a relatively unknown character to me. However, I knew enough to know that Keanu Reeves, as great an actor as he is, was NOT suited for the role. His distinct lack of Britishness alone makes him a poor casting choice.

Many years later, the incredible Matt Ryan took the role of Constantine on the sadly short-lived television series, then reprised it in the DC Television universe. And the mere thought of Reeves portrayal - which I had never seen - was enough to make me say, "ug" after seeing Ryan's brilliant, near perfect, portrayal.

But. I'm a completist. So I eventually decided that, since it's available on HBO Max and hubby and I have it at the moment, I would give it a try. Having watched the television series and read just a bit of the comics, I know more about the character and what I expect from it now.

So here's the ironic part. If I had come into this movie completely ignorant, I probably would have liked it just fine. It's not a great movie, but it's not really bad either. My absolute main complaint with it is still the fact that Keanu Reeves, despite understanding the character and doing his best, just is NOT John Constantine. He's a fair American imitation of Constantine, but he just isn't right. This is not an insult to Reeves. He does a great job. He clearly groks Constantine and his motives. And if I didn't know anything at all about the character, I probably would have been fine with him. But I just couldn't suspend enough of my preconceived notions to truly accept him as the character.

The movie itself moves along nicely, works well enough, has fairly good visuals and a strong supporting cast. It's not the greatest version of that particular plot, but it works okay. Some of the bit parts were the best players, grabbing their roles with both hands and making them work. There are a handful of gross moments, but nothing so over-the-top that I had any issues with it.

So, as a good little popcorn movie to watch? Yeah, go for it. It's not bad. I, personally, can't get over the non-Constantine-ish-ness of the lead, but that is a fault in me, not in the movie. Your mileage may vary.