Constantine - NBC, Neil Marshall, David S Goyer, Matt Ryan

Based on the DC Comics character.

I’ll totally tune in, loved the movie.

True confession - the movie starring Reeves and Weisz is a guilty pleasure of mine. I still say that Peter Stormare as Lucifer is one of the greatest things ever.

But… I totally get why fans of the comic character were disappointed. At least the depiction here looks more like the comic.

I’d really like to like this.

Same here. It’s a guilty pleasure because I’m aware I probably shouldn’t like it, but I do anyway. It’s one of the few HD DVDs I obtained before Blu Ray overtook that format.

I like it too, and I don’t feel guilty. It’s an enjoyable film, but I say that as someone who was barely aware of the character it’s based upon before seeing it.

Honestly, I would have liked the movie a lot better if it had cast two key roles better - Constantine himself, and his best buddy/cabbie Chaz, played respectively by Keanu Reeves and Shia LeBeouf. Quite aside from Keanu not fitting the character’s physical profile (which, eh, whatever), he specializes in laconic, emotionally muted characters, particularly stoned and/or dim-witted. This is almost the diametric opposite of the fast-talking, disreputable con man charmer that Constantine’s supposed to be. It’s a terrible fit. Shia is okay on his own terms as far as I’m concerned, but he was way underage for the role and even in London I’m pretty sure they don’t let teenagers drive cabs for a living. It bothered me the whole time. Some of the other stuff was a little goofy besides, but I can forgive -that- in exchange for the stuff with Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormare. Reeves as Constantine, not so much.

This series looks promising. I hope the writing’s up to snuff. The comic’s been like a rotating parade of some of the finest writers in the medium, so that’s a pretty tough legacy to live up to.

Clearly it helped my enjoyment of the movie that I did not know the comic or how Constantine was supposed to behave. Low key asshole worked fine for me.

I’m a big fan of comics Constantine, but I liked the movie as well. Obviously, not casting a Brit was a bit jarring, but being loosely based on one of the best early Hellblazer story arcs (“Dangerous Habits”) was a big plus. Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormare were awesome.

I just went in with the knowledge that this would be an alternate interpretation of the Constantine mythos in front of mind and enjoyed it for what it was.

Really hoping the pilot is good and successful, because a good Constantine TV series just might be my favorite thing ever.

It kinda butchered one of the key moments of that arc, alas. Constantine cons three separate lords of Hell into all doing a deal for his soul with the result that they have to cure his cancer or ignite Hellish civil war. That’s clever, dickish, and really fucking unwise, which is Constantine all over. The movie has the same “welp, lung cancer” premise but Constantine beats things by nobly sacrificing himself for the girl('s sister). Which, y’know, for some other character might be okay, if kind of standard and predictable, but it’s just not Constantine at all.

That’s one of the parts of the movie I liked best. He’s not sacrificing himself for the sister, he does it to avert armageddon. Then Lucifer says “ok, I owe you for that, what do you want?” and Constantine asks for the sister instead of, say, curing his lung cancer. That’s noble, yeah, and maybe out of character, but it sets up Lucifer curing his cancer despite Constantine, which is great.

There’s also the possibility that Constantine figured out that asking for the sister instead of himself would get him into heaven. He knows the rules, and knows that dying now and not going to hell beats living and going to hell later.

Yeah, I thought the movie’s solution was actually a lot more clever than the one in the comics.

If it had suggested at all that he was gaming the system, I could buy that it was a deliberate move, but there’s really nothing to support that interpretation other than how the character is handled in the source material.

Constantine has a conversation with Gabriel about Constantine’s proclivity for gaming the system when we first meet Gabriel. I don’t know the comic at all, and yet it seemed very plausible to me that he’d do that from the way he’s presented in the movie. If there’s a compelling counter argument to this interpretation, it’s that if Constantine was deliberately doing that, it might not count as a real sacrifice and he wouldn’t have started his ascension into heaven.

The more straight interpretation of the scene isn’t so much nobility, so much as saying “fuck it, I’m screwed in the long run, might as well get something more permanent out of deal.” He seems very resigned to his fate during the entire scene. It’s also possible we’re meant to see it as character growth, since if I remember correctly the conversation with Gabriel is about Constantine’s deficiencies in the area of altruism.

In any case, it didn’t seem so stereotypically noble to me when I first saw the scene. Particularly since he gives Lucifer the finger as he ascends.

What the movie missed the most, besides the fact that he’s fucking British, and yes this matters. . . is that Constantinue has this nasty habit of using people to achieve his ends (well, it’s more than this, but never mind).

His ends are always noble.

he does it to avert armageddon

He’s always doing it to avert Armageddon, or to help the innocent. But he’s a vicious bastard (he tells us as much when Moore introduces him in Swamp Thing), and he will maneuver allies like they are chess pieces and do it without regret (. . .ish). He destroys a lot of individuals on his path towards helping the body at large. And he always seems to get out unscathed himself (he doesn’t get out unscathed of course; the scars and the guilt don’t make up for the blood on his hands, though).

He’s the second most important character in Moore’s run on Swamp Thing and he’s completely amazing in it, pretty much establishing everything people would love about the character when he got his own series. A TV show that can capture that will be something else, no question. This chatter makes me sad that we never got to see Moore’s Twilight of the Superheros, because it would have been the most amazing John Constantine story ever, about the only person who could ever possibly get the drop on John Constantine.

The more I read on this, the less optimistic I become. Which is tough since I was just barely optimistic at the beginning. From the press release:

Before long, it’s revealed that Liv’s “second sight” — an ability to see the worlds behind our world and predict supernatural occurrences — is a threat to a mysterious new evil that’s rising in the shadows. Now it’s not just Liv who needs protection; the angels are starting to get worried too. So, together, Constantine and Liv must use her power and his skills to travel the country, find the demons that threaten our world and send them back where they belong.

A buddy-cop, road-show, monster-of-the-week thing? Any other hyphenated terms we could throw in?

To be serious, I sort of enjoyed the 90s tales where he teamed up with his niece Gemma, so it might work. I just have my doubts that a network show could be dark enough to make Constantine really work.


I figured it was clear he was gaming the system based on him literally flipping Lucifer the middle finger as a “Hah hah I fucked you over” statement as he’s being pulled into heaven.

EDIT: Yeah, pretty much what Gus said.

There’s no suggestion that the act that actually saves him is done out of calculation or as any sort of con. It frankly wouldn’t make sense that that would actually earn him redemption if it were. Giving Lucifer the finger is just him being petty in what turns out to be victory.

If only it resulted in James Franco’s fate in This is the End.