Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounso, Tilda Swinton, and Peter Stormare
Director: Francis Lawrence
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars
The Spear of Destiny has fallen into the hands of a cabal of half-demons and only supernatural detective John Constantine (Reeves) stands between humanity and literal Hell on Earth.
"Constantine" is a nice adaptation of the long-running "Hellblazer" comic book to the big screen. It retains just enough of the original series to not make one go "why did they even use the character's name?" while creating a standalone work that can be enjoyed by the vast majority of film-watchers who have never heard of the series. (Even better, the filmmakers chose to give a nod to my favorite "Hellblazer" storyline, now some fifteen years gone, where John Constantine is diagnosed with lung cancer and is facing certain death.)
Far more comic-booky in nature than the comic book ever was back when I read it, the film nonetheless captures the vibe of John Constantine's world, a place where conspiracy and theology mixes easily and even the most innocent facade may hide vast occult power. It's a film that should appeal equally to fans of superheroes, the supernatural, and "Coast-to-Coast AM" style of paranoid thinking. The icing on the cake is some pretty good acting by Keanau Reeves and Rachel Weisz. Tilda Swinton also plays a sufficiently menacing Angel Gabriel, while Peter Stomare takes a decent turn as Satan, even if I wish they'd found a more handsome actor to play him.