Cult director Robert Rodriguez returns to the world of his failure “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl”. Whether the sequel WE CAN BE HEROES beats its predecessor, we reveal that in our review of the film.
OT: We can be Heroes (USA 2020)
Since the death of her mother, Missy Moreno (Yaya Gosselin) has been very worried about her father, the superhero Marcus Moreno (Pedro Pascal). Fortunately, he has given up being an active superhero and is now working in the logistical apparatus of the hero association Heroics. But when mysterious, dangerous aliens attack the earth one day, Marcus has to slip into the hero costume again. Missy is upset, is very afraid for her dad and now wants to take action herself – but she doesn’t have any superpowers. Luckily for her, she has just met a whole school class of super kids with super powers…
Robert Rodriguez may be best known to most adult film fans as the director of such gory action delights as “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Planet Terror” as well as the “Sin City” comic book films. But an entire generation has now grown up with his children’s films – from the “Spy Kids” tetralogy to “The Secret of the Rainbow Stone”. In addition, Rodriguez spent the 3D superhero film “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl”, which, despite terrible effects even for 2005 and a bubblegum production design, devoured a budget of 50 million dollars and only took in 69.4 million dollars worldwide – and therefore minus the marketing costs and other factors. Additionally, the film was torn apart by critics.
Pedro Pascal plays the lead role of Marcus Moreno in “We can be Heroes”.
Compared to the first two “Spy Kids” films and “The Secret of the Rainbow Stone”, “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” stood out negatively from Rodriguez’s children’s film work, as the funky, hyped-up attitude of these films degenerated into uncontrolled jitteriness. There were also caustic, one-dimensional characters and uncreatively choreographed, long action scenes without humor. It was a corresponding surprise when it was announced that Robert Rodriguez was releasing a new film on Netflix this winter without much advance notice, and that it was, of all things, a sequel to “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl”. But surprisingly, “We Can Be Heroes” is much better than its predecessor – which may be due, among other things, to the fact that Rodriguez doesn’t even artificially try to replace his mostly squeaky, inspiring children’s film attitude again in the “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” style with unpleasant main characters. to make it “edgier”. Instead, Rodriguez relies on the strengths that have earned his children’s films a small, dedicated fan base.
“But surprisingly, “We Can Be Heroes” is much better than its predecessor – which is probably due, among other things, to the fact that Rodriguez doesn’t even artificially try to make his mostly squeaky, inspiring children’s film attitude more “edgy” again.”
The Spy Kids films prided themselves on their large Latin representation long before the topic of diversity in mainstream Hollywood films became a prominent cultural conversation. “We Can Be Heroes” celebrates a cast that is mainly of Latin American origin with great naturalness and friendly, positive energy, also shows a positive portrayal of a single-dad household, and gives one to children in wheelchairs who watch this film Great retort if they ever get hit on stupidly: “My muscles are so strong that my bones couldn’t take it!” First and foremost, “We Can Be Heroes” with its very simple dramaturgy (more on that in a moment) and its basic childlike mood However, although it is made for an elementary school audience, this film’s abundance of positivity isn’t exactly artful storytelling. But as a film in which sketchy scene follows sketchy scene and in between a bit of action (half-baked on the computer, but at least cleverly told) loosens up the action, “We Can Be Heroes” isn’t even aiming for that. It is a simple entertainment film – and aims to be inspiring through its constellation of characters: It gives children, who for various reasons continue to be underrepresented in the mass media, a heroic group to identify with – and then has snappy fun with these characters.
Boyd Holbrook is Miracle Guy.
As already indicated, this fun is structured in a very silly way. The first act ends with two consecutive passages in which one character after the other has a brief moment in the spotlight: First Missy gets to know her new class and one child after the other is introduced with their name and superpower. Afterwards, the kids watch a news report about their superhero parents – where one parent at a time is introduced by name and uses their powers. And a considerable part of the running time has already been covered. Sophisticated screenwriting looks different, and yet this double set of “And here’s the ensemble!” scenes is the best part of the entire film, as Rodriguez has come up with some very fun powers and introduces them with the eyes of childish wonder – and the children -Cast has a really infectious joy in showcasing these skills. The news report, in turn, is full of well-placed, casually conveyed sarcasm with which “We Can Be Heroes” makes fun of superhero film genre conventions – this is how the news anchor cheers during a hero appearance that is as spectacular as it is destructive: “These heroes are so costly to taxpayers – but they look so good doing it!” A few minutes later the news sighs against it: “Aaaand now… our heroes are fighting among themselves again.”
“Since “We Can Be Heroes”, with its very simple dramaturgy and its childlike mood, is primarily made for a primary school audience, the abundance of positivity in this film is not exactly artful storytelling.”
Such bonuses for the older audience who are familiar with the genre conventions are generally distributed rather sporadically; instead, Rodriguez sprinkles in cameos from people like Christian Slater or references to screen greats like Rita Moreno as little treats to keep the adults engaged. Nevertheless: Like all Rodriguez films suitable for children after “Spy Kids 2”, “We Can Be Heroes” is undoubtedly not that Familys– but as Childrenfilm thought. The film aims to give children figures to identify with, role models, confirmation (a recurring theme of the film is that the next generation is always the better one) and 100 minutes of fast-paced film fun. And while the weaker Rodriguez children’s films eventually get lost in hustle and bustle, screaming and chatter, “We Can Be Heroes” achieves its goals with a simple story (adults will usually get through it quickly), but it chooses an entertaining path full of small, creative ones Moments to get to its predictable destination: How Missy’s school class works together to save the day and how the kids use their powers is smarter written and than in many a “real” superhero or action film that believes of Tell about teamwork. The kids’ sense of community and how they all rediscover or rediscover their powers is not only a beautiful message, but is also implemented in a fun way.
Conclusion: Give up your claim and let the superhero kids take you with them! “We Can Be Heroes” is a colorful, simple children’s film that takes great pleasure in building up a large ensemble and presenting it in a positive way.
“We can be Heroes” will be available to stream on Netflix from December 25th.