The 15th Anniversary Of Constantine: An Underrated Cult Classic

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Normally, this is the time of year when we’d be right in the middle of the San Diego Comic-Con. Some of the year’s biggest announcements about our favorite movies, TV shows, and comic books are made at this event. Unfortunately, due to the continued threat of the COVID-19 outbreak, the mega-convention couldn’t be held this year and I can’t say I blame them. Imagine it, thousands of sweaty, nerdy fans, decked out in their cosplay, in 90+ degree heat with 80% humidity, as they all walk around hacking and coughing a deadly virus on each other. Half of the attendees would be in the hospital by the end of the week. Not a pretty picture. 

     However, we weren’t completely left empty-handed, the folks behind the long running annual fan event, came up with  Comic-Con@Home, multiple panels were live streamed online for folks to enjoy a little bit of Comic-Con from the comfort and safety of their own home. Nothing beats the real Comic-Con experience, but they still put together some very interesting panels. One of the highlights, for me at least, was the Constantine 15th Anniversary Panel. Star Keanu Reeves, producer Akiva Goldman, and director Francis Lawrence discussed the 2005 film with one of writers from Collider. 

Constantine takes a trip to Hell

    I want to take a minute and to give the film some context. John Constantine is easily among my top 10 favorite comic book characters. He was created by legendary comic book writer Alan Moore during his Swamp Thing run for DC and the physical inspiration for Constantine was world famous musician, Sting. The character was enough of a standout to warrant his own series from DC under their mature readers imprint, Vertigo, called Hellblazer. Constantine was sort of a con-man mage based out of London. Writers like Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzerello, and Warren Ellis have all done memorable work with the character, in fact Hellblazer was the longest running books in Vertigo’s history. 

Constantine is a little more high profile these days, appearing in both live-action and animated TV shows and films. Most notably, actor Matt Ryan has portrayed John Constantine in pretty much every appearance the character has made over the last 6 years. We first saw Ryan’s interpretation of the role in the short-lived (but cancelled too soon) Constantine TV series (2014-2015). Unlike Keanu Reeves, the British and blonde haired Matt Ryan is much more in line with the traditional depiction of John Constantine. But you can’t keep a good warlock down, and Matt Ryan reprised the role of John Constantine on Arrow and eventually became a series regular on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (these appearances retroactively made the Constantine TV series part of The Arrowverse). Ryan has also voiced the character in multiple animated films, like Justice League Dark and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, as well as an animated miniseries. Much like Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as The Joker, Matt Ryan has become the unofficial, definitive version of John Constantine in the eyes of many fans.

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

   Having said all that, I think 2005’s Constantine is an extremely underrated movie that deserves more credit than it gets. On paper this movie should not work. First of all, John Constantine is one of the best comic book characters ever created and holds a lot of reverence with fans. Does Keanu Reeves sound anything the character I described above? A British, street sorcerer that looks like Sting? At the time, casting Keanu Reeves in the title role seemed like a weird and misguided choice for the movie. That’s strike one. Producer, Alkiva Goldman, has had his name attached to some truly dog shit projects over the years, including Joel Schumacher’s infamous Batman & Robin. Strike two. Finally, this beloved character was in the hands of a first time film director, who predominantly directed music videos before this movie. Strike three! But goddammit if they don’t manage to pull it off. Not only did the movie work, it was pretty damn great.

Lucifer pays John a visit. The only Soul he’d come to personally collect himself.

   Despite the changes to the source material, especially the casting of Keanu Reeves and the film taking place in LA instead of London, the movie did a phenomenal job at capturing the essence of John Constantine and his world. Keanu was so good in the role that the superficial changes didn’t matter as much as you’d think. The spirit of the character was there. Reeves did a better job of inhabiting John Constantine than a lot of other actors in comic book films that seem perfectly cast from the jump. There are so many great, little moments throughout the film that show how Keanu Reeves and the filmmakers really get exactly who this guy is and what makes him tick. 

   The look of the film, the supporting cast, Peter Stormare as Lucifer, are just a few examples of what makes this movie an underrated gem. I definitely recommend checking out the full panel, which you can watch right here:

It sounds like Keanu is up for a sequel, which would be pretty cool. So what do you guys think? Is Constantine an underrated classic? Or am I nuts and it’s a piece of shit? Let me know in the comments below.

Constantine, Papa Midnite (Djimon Hounsou), and Chas (Shia LaBeouf)

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 Premiere Review!

  

Hey Everybody,

Paul here…

DC'S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

One of my favorite aspects of the Arrowverse has always been their use of John Constantine. When Matt Ryan played the character on the very underrated and short lived Constantine TV series, it was clear there was something special about him in this role that made him perfect for the character. Almost immediately after the Constantine series was canceled, something fairly unique happened where Matt Ryan became DC’s de facto John Constantine. He made a guest appearance on Arrow as the character, retroactively integrating Constantine into the Arrowverse. Ryan voiced Constantine in his own online animated series (which is how Vixen and The Ray joined The Arrowverse). The excellent DC Animated Movie; Justice League Dark, and the just released Constantine:   City Of Demons, also had Matt Ryan return to voice John Constantine. 

F02ACEAB-B8C3-4A82-812E-B330E65ADFF1    As soon as Legends of Tomorrow was first announced, I thought Constantine would make an excellent addition to the cast. It was an eclectic group of DC characters and it seemed like a pretty big missed opportunity to not include him on a show like this. Thankfully, It seems like the folks over on The CW have finally come to their senses. After his excellent reoccurring appearances in Season 3, it seemed like the character was finally sticking around. At last, in Season 4, John Constantine is on of the crew of The Waverider (kind of).

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  Now that my gushing about Constantine is out of the way, back to Legends. After last season, the Legends are basking in their success at actually saving the timeline and doing things right for once. They’re even being honored by The Time Bureau. Their personal lives are looking pretty good too. Sarah and Ava are even thinking about moving in together. So the team really doesn’t want the other shoe to inevitability drop. 

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    Constantine, always knowing how to make an entrance, returns to remind Sarah of the warning he gave the team at the end of last season. When the Legends defeated the time demon Mallus, they unleashed other supernatural and magical entities onto the time stream. Now the Legends have to clean up this latest mess and it looks like it’s going to be pretty great. 

The Virgin Gary

  The first mystical threat they encounter occurs at Woodstock, where an iconic mythical creature gets a fantastic Legends spin. A Unicorn is impaling and eating people. That sentence should give you an idea of just how crazy and fun this show is. Much to the chagrin of Mick, it may not be a dragon (he REALLY wants to kill a dragon), but it’ll do.

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  Sarah turns to John for help dealing with the creature, while the rest of the team trips on the mystical goo the Unicorn sprayed on them (Because, of course). To capture and banish the Unicorn, John needs to perform a spell with ingredients that include a joint stolen from Jerry Garcia, Janice Joplin’s hair, and a virgin as bait. Of course the only virgin they know is poor, poor Gary from the Time Bureau, who they sucker into being bait for the human heart eating monster. The Unicorn actually looks really cool in it’s true monstrous form and after biting off Gary’s nipple, Constantine is able to use the spell to send the creature to Hell.

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  When everything is said and done, Sarah tries to convince John to officially become a member of the Legends. But John being John basically tells her to fuck off in his own special way. However, we know that it’s unlikely he’ll keep that attitude for long. Especially after the very ominous way and the episode ends. There’s a larger threat out there that will take Constantine and the Legends to deal with. I suspect I know what it is specifically, but I don’t want to spoil it here.

Suicidal TendenciesI also wanted to mention that Thomas F. Wilson AKA Biff Tannen himself has joined the show as Nate’s disapproving father. He didn’t respect Nate’s job as a historian and has no Idea that his son has been playing time traveling superhero for that last two years.

Blood Ties

  Legends of Tomorrow is at its best when it embraces it’s most absurd ideas and they seem to be doing exactly that this season. Much like the new season of Arrow, this seems like a fresh new direction for the show that could be a new start for Legends of Tomorrow. I know I had a blast and I can’t wait to see where the season goes from here!

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DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Season 4 Premiere): 8/10

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul