Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Constantine

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 46% (Critics) / 72% (Audience)
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Written By: Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Djimon Hounsou, Shia LaBeouf and Tilda Swinton
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Synopsis: The story of irreverent supernatural detective John Constantine, who has literally been to Hell and back. When Constantine teams up with skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught in a catastrophic series of otherworldly events, the two become inextricably involved and seek to find their own peace at whatever cost. – (Source)

The Good:
I liked the world of magic that was set up in this film. From the behavior of the angels (most notably Tilda Swinton who was a vision of manipulative androgyny as the angel Gabriel) and demons to quite possibly my favorite representation of Satan by Peter Stormare…the mystical characters and setting were all very cool and original. Djimon Hounsou was also very cool, if a tad underused, as the mystic club owner Papa Midnite.
I also enjoyed Keanu Reeves doing a twist on his usual Keanu-ness by playing up the shopworn, world weary nature of John Constantine.

The Bad:
Some of the effects tended to verge on the stuff you would see in Stephen Sommers directed movie especially in the scenes set in Hell. And as much as I like Rachel Weisz she just seemed out of place and disconnected in this film.
This movie also took oh so many liberties with source material that really didn’t need to be tweaked so damn much.

The Ugly:
The ugliest two words in the English language are: Shia. LeBouf.

Final Verdict: As a supernatural thriller CONSTANTINE is really good with some very inventive takes on biblical characters and mystical rules. If this movie had not been an adaptation of a well-known (and beloved) comic book property it would have likely not been as harshly received. As an adaptation of the HELLBLAZER comic I’d give it a D+; as a standalone movie not based on any existing property I’d give it a B.

Grade: C+

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