Constantine (2005)

Constantine the Great was the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire, after the informal divide of the empire into two halves but before the actual split of Eastern and Western.

Wait. Sorry, wrong script. Ahem.

John Constantine is a demon hunter, out to discover why demon incursions are on the rise and what the powers that be Above and Below truly have planned for little lonely mudball. The movie is loosely adapted from various comic books –namely the Hellblazer comic series- but is pretty much its own media entity. A brief run as a television series followed at one point, and is now considered part of the Arrowverse for the five people still watching that show.

That was cruel, I apologize. Any show with Summer Glau in it get’s two thumbs up from me, and no, that’s not a euphemism for anything. Moving on, Constantine is pretty much universally agreed to be a terrible comic book adaptation, for a variety of reasons. Some make sense, such as the creative liberties. Others, such as the casting of Keanu Reeves as Constantine himself, seem somewhat nitpicky, but I haven’t actually read the comics so can’t say for sure.

What I can say is the film is a graphic marvel that survives the test of technology. The imagery and action are still stunning to observe and well worth the watch. The film may be a lousy adaptation, but it is still a very fine film. If you remove the adaptation elements it could even be a great film, but the chains of its adaptational efforts cannot be broken. They can, however, be ignored.

Constantine is a visually gripping, action-packed tale of redemption, suspense, and lots of demon hunting. It is pretty much impossible for my inner nerd not to enjoy demon hunting, and this film does not disappoint in that regard. It’s more than just action schlock, however, as the suspense and character aspects of Constantine himself intertwine to make for an enthralling story of humanity’s survival and one man’s search for solace in a world going down the tubes as evil stretches it’s claws ever further and deeper.

So, it’s like a contemporary film adaptation of Doom. Shame no one ever did that. Regardless if you’re a fan of the comics or not, if you like action movies with some character drive to them, than Constantine is definitely worth a watch. It doesn’t claim to be part of some ancient conspiracy like Dan Brown, nor is it overly dramatic like a lot of character pieces. It is very aware that it is a movie about a dude fighting demons in the modern world, and it makes sure to take that premise seriously. Thanks to the gravitas of Mr. Reeves, it succeeds.

Constantine is definitely worth the time for fans of action movies, fans of demon hunting, and fans of poorly made adaptations. You know who you are, and this movie is perfectly capable of standing on its merits, making for a good watch and some demon killing fun.