This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ethan’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Keanu Reeves in a comicbook movie is, like, every film nerd's dream. For some reason, though, I never knew until recently that he starred in one, back in 2005. And a DC movie, of all things!
Constantine might not be the most comic-accurate movie out there, but it's still a very fun movie with plenty of merit. For one thing, Keanu Reeves is a talented actor who gives a solid, fun performance as the titular hero. He's a no-nonsense exorcist/demon fighter whose lungs have been permanently damaged due to his smoking habit. What interests me is that the film decides to show John Constantine past his prime, when he's a bit worn out from all that he had to do. It gives the movie -- and its main character -- a feeling of groundedness.
The same sense that this world exists with its own set of rules can be felt in this whole movie. The story shows various aspects of angels and demons, with "half-breeds" and how they keep the balance in the middle world, where we live. I love the fact that angels and demons live among us in this world, and Constantine is here to "keep the balance". The CGI of 2005 is better than expected, and the glimpses of hell and its, well, hellish landscape is really cool to look at. Might I also note that Tilda Swinton is a perfect casting choice for Gabriel? She's amazing, albeit underused, in this movie. Way less controversial than her in Doctor Strange.
Exorcism might not be my cup of tea, but when it's presented in an entertaining way such as Constantine, I'm going to have a fun time. Maybe that's why I like this and Marvel's Blade series so much. It's not your typical superhero movie. It has a different vibe, a different kind of hero and setting. Vampires and demons are part of comic lore, and we're blessed to have been able to watch movies of superheroes fighting those mystical creatures. Or maybe I'm just grateful for this movie for showing Keanu Reeves give the middle finger to Lucifer as he rises towards heaven.