Constantine

Not everybody that sends souls to hell works for the devil.

PLOT:

Searching through ruins in Mexico, a young man accidentally finds the Spear of Destiny wrapped in a Nazi flag. Immediately possessed by a supernatural force, he is propelled on a journey to Los Angeles, now seemingly indestructible and causing demonic and unnatural damage as he goes. In Los Angeles, occultist John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) exorcises a demon from a teenage girl, finding himself unnerved by the demon’s unusually bold attempt at crossing over into humanity’s realm. Later that night, disturbed mental patient Isabel Dodson commits suicide, provoking the sorrow and disbelief of her twin sister, L.A.P.D. Detective Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz). Visiting the hospital where Isabel died, Angela encounters Constantine, who is being treated at the same hospital for his terminal lung cancer, a result of his decades-long chain-smoking habit. Disgusted with the prognosis, Constantine visits a nearby church to speak with the angel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton), angrily asking what more he must do to earn God’s forgiveness. Unsympathetic to Constantine’s plight, Gabriel rebuffs his attempts at reconciliation with God, pointing out the selfish undertones beneath his good deeds. Meanwhile at the same church, Angela begs the Cardinal to allow Isabel a church-sanctioned funeral, which the Cardinal refuses, pointing out the Catholic rules regarding suicides.

Angela absolutely refuses to believe her sister killed herself and investigates a possible occult angle that leads her back to Constantine. She asks his advice on how the devoutly Catholic Isabel could be convinced to take her own life. At first, he dismisses the event as a simple result of mental illness, and she angrily leaves. As she leaves his home, Constantine sees that demons are chasing Angela, and he hurries after her. Forced hurriedly to explain himself, Constantine reveals Earth as a neutral realm between Heaven and Hell where God and Satan wagered on who could win the most souls among humans, which would one day lead to either the ultimate salvation or damnation of Earth, depending on the numbers. Though direct intervention by angels or demons is prohibited, ‘half-breeds,’ humans with mixed angelic or demonic ancestry, are able to provide influence. Angela dismisses him as delusional, until the demons attack and he fends them off. Afterwards, Constantine reveals he was born with the ability to detect these beings (both holy and demonic). Led to believe he was insane, his parents not believing him, and finding treatment unhelpful, he committed suicide to escape the torment, and went to Hell before he was resuscitated by doctors. Now almost certain to go to Hell when he does die, Constantine battles their forces on Earth in an attempt to win God’s favor, enraging Satan, who now holds a personal grudge against Constantine.

Constantine discovers that Angela and her sister were psychics, a power repressed by Angela as she grew older. She undergoes a reawakening with Constantine’s help. She then leads Constantine across the city to Balthazar, a demon half-breed conspiring with Satan’s son Mammon to conquer Earth. Mammon, after first possessing a psychic human, can only fully cross over into Earth with divine assistance, notably the Spear of Destiny, encrusted with the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only son. After defeating Balthazar, the two attempt to escape, but Angela is kidnapped by an unseen force. Constantine pursues her to the hospital, where inside, the man from Mexico arrives with the Spear of Destiny and helps Mammon possess Angela. Constantine and his apprentice, Chas Kramer (Shia LaBeouf) struggle to repress Mammon in Angela’s body and are almost successful, until the same unseen force that kidnapped Angela reappears, and kills Chas. Constantine conducts a spell to reveal the hidden force, the considerable effort involved weakening him, and as Constantine lies beaten he sees that it is Gabriel. Gabriel, bitter over the effortless salvation offered to humans by God, vows to infect Earth with Hell, declaring that humans only deserve salvation when they are truly noble or heroic; that only happens beneath adversity and horror, which Mammon will provide- with Gabriel’s twisted assistance.

As Gabriel prepares to release Mammon, Constantine prays to God for intervention, but has no luck; out of options, he kills himself by cutting his wrists, knowing his death will bring Satan (Peter Stormare) to personally collect his soul. At the moment of Constantine’s death, time stops, and Satan appears. At first giddy with excitement, Satan is angered to learn of Mammon’s plot, which he initially doesn’t believe. Finally convinced his son is breaking God’s laws, he stops the ritual, using his greater power to return Mammon to Hell. Gabriel, whose acts have put her outside God’s grace, is now powerless, so Satan burns her wings off, making her human. Satan returns to Constantine and asks what reward he expects, to which Constantine asks that Isabel’s soul be released to Heaven. Satan begrudgingly complies and begins dragging Constantine to Hell, only to be interrupted by the Divine Light, which accepts Constantine into Heaven amidst his selfless sacrifice. Witnessing the escape of his reviled enemy, an enraged Satan rips the cancer from Constantine’s lungs, resurrecting him for the further opportunity to condemn himself to Hell, before disappearing. Constantine pulls himself back to his feet, amazed that he is still alive, and joins a newly awakened Angela. As they speak, Constantine pulls the Spear of Destiny from the floor, and the now-human Gabriel emerges from the pool. She offers Constantine the option of exacting his revenge, only to have Constantine punch her in the face to make her realize the pain of being human.

Later that night atop the hospital’s roof, Constantine offers Angela the Spear of Destiny. As she leaves him to the solitary Los Angeles skyline, Constantine, now in full possession of his fate, begins chewing nicotine gum to help him quit smoking.

At the end of the film’s credits, Constantine visits Chas’s grave, leaving his cigarette lighter atop the grave. As Constantine turns to leave, Chas appears as an angel, and flies silently into the sky, leaving behind a smiling Constantine.

REVIEW:

When this film first came out, I thought it was just some random horror movie, but some work friends coerced me into seeing it. Much to my surprise, I actually liked it.

The effects are one of the highlights of the film, and let’s face it, they make this film. Keanu Reeves gives in his usual performance.  A bit on the dry side, but that’s just his nature in the same way Samuel L. Jackson is loud.

Shia LeBeouf added a nice bit of comic relief into parts. Rachel Weisz is gorgeous as always.

Tilda Swinton did a pretty good job as Gabriel, the androgynous archangel. I was reading some message boards this afternoon and there are those that found her extremely sexy. Not my kind of thing, but to each their own.

Theologists’ head probably exploded after seeing this since it differed so much from what they know, but how many movies are true to their original material anymore?

This film is excellent, but not without faults.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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6 Responses to “Constantine”

  1. […] this was an original idea, it would be a hit, even if it does seem to be a mix of The Punisher and Constatine. Not a bad combination, but the script and story could have been better executed. All in all, […]

  2. […] this was a comic, but I had never heard of it. Of course, I didn’t know Constantine or Men in Black were comics, […]

  3. […] afternoon, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree, though I think it leans more towards a hybrid of Constantine and Underworld, […]

  4. […] put this more in the category with flicks such as Season of the Witch and, to a lesser extent, Constantine. It isn’t necessarily horrifying, but it does have those […]

  5. […] from start to finish that will keep you wondering what’s next. Is it scary? Honestly, I think Constantine or the Ghost Rider movies fit that bill better, but it tries. Do I recommend it? Yes, it is a good […]

  6. […] some comic book films that set things up for this great time in comic book cinema. One of these is Constantine. A little news this week about a possible TV show for John Constantine on NBC (unclear if it will […]

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