Laura and I went to see Constantine this weekend, and it was another instance of my expectations working in my favor.
I was expecting the film to be mediocre at best, and, as a result, I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked it. I’ve been a fan of the character since he first appeared in “Swamp Thing” in the 80s, and was a devoted reader of “Hellblazer” for its first few years of production. Sure, there were elements of the comic missing or changed for the film, but all in all, I was pleased to see how close the final result actually managed to be—in fact, I think that if they had cast somebody like Paul Bettany or Jude Law as Constantine, you wouldn’t hear nearly as much bitching about the film from Geek circles as you currently do.
This is not to say that Reeves does a bad job–I think he manages to bring across the important bits of the character just fine–but, unfortunately, he is hampered by his very “Keanu-ness.” He’s reached the point where, no matter what role he’s playing, all you can see is him (very similar to the problems with casting Jack Nicholson in anything: you’re gonna get Jack, not the character).
It was pretty cool, though. Heck–if nothing else, it made me go home and dust off the old notes for a proposed series of noir-ish horror fiction I had worked on a while back, featuring a priest who wanders around the secret occult subculture of NYC, combatting the forces of evil while being tainted by it.