Why Did I Watch It? From a list of underrated blockbusters by David Sims on The Atlantic.
John Constantine is a man who lives in a world even more complex than the one you are familiar with. It has all the usual stuff, but then there are angels and demons moving among us, subtly nudging us towards good or evil as part of a millennia old wager between God and the Devil. It’s the Bible brought to life, with a super elaborate set of rules.
Constantine helps regulate the gameplay. Armed with a crucifix that doubles as a gun, he catches evil creatures who have escaped from hell. His motivation: he attempted suicide when he was younger, a mortal sin, and is now trying to complete enough good deeds to earn his way into heaven. He also gets drawn into an elaborate murder case, involving the twin sister of a young police detective.
With enough exposition for five movies, ‘Constantine’ still manages to, mostly, deliver, as a silly and enjoyable popcorn movie. It is aided enormously by the cast. The always watchable Keanu Reeves is perfect as the world weary, unflappable anti hero, and we get an additional bonus in the form of double Rachel Weisz; excellent in the dual role of the twins. Tilda Swinton, with an indescribable haircut, is also fun in a small role, playing the arch angel Gabriel, up to no good.
The plot is so elaborate I didn’t really follow all of it, and I felt that some parts the film makers just gave up on. There is a magic spear that turns the holder into an indestructible force, which is set up early as VERY IMPORTANT… that then sorta just disappears from the story. Your classic MacGuffin, and not the only one. For such a goofy movie, the film also speaks very seriously of Catholicism as the one proper religion, the characters discuss this at length, which seems a little jarring considering the nuttiness of the rest.
But, whatever. Cats are the portal to hell. The Devil cures Keanu’s lung cancer. There is a beetle monster. And, a different beetle monster, that lives in a match box. There are worse ways to spend two hours.