10 "Awful" Comic Book Movies Worth A Second Chance
In the comics, John Constantine is blond, middle-aged, and hails from Liverpool. So naturally, the studio decided to move him to LA and cast Keanu Reeves in the role. To make matters worse, Constantine's driver, Chas Chandler (who is older than Constantine) was played by Shia LaBeouf. And that's a fate I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. There is so much about Constantine that is so drastically different from the Hellblazer series on which it is ostensibly based that you could have simply changed the characters' names and no one would have known it was ever influenced by the comics. I hated this movie when I saw it in the theaters. Absolutely hated it. But over the years, I've somehow seen it a few more times. And...dear god help me...I now actually dig it. I know it's a total bastardization of everything the comic was about (right down to the insulting way they twisted Garth Ennis' brilliant ending for the "Dangerous Habits" story), but I've stopped thinking about this as a John Constantine movie and I've started to look at it as its own entity. This is not John Constantine, this is just some American exorcist who just happens to be named John Constantine. But Reeves does probably the best anyone can expect of him, while Tilda Swinton's Gabriel, Djimon Hounsou's Papa Midnite, and especially Peter Stormare's Lucifer provide incredible supporting work. And any movie where you get to watch Shia LaBeouf beaten to death can't be all bad.
Percival Constantine is the author of several novels and short stories, including the Vanguard superhero series, and regularly writes and comments on movies, comics, and other pop culture. More information can be found at his website, PercivalConstantine.com