To sequel or not to sequel, that is the question: Constantine
Some people call CONSTANTINE a "guilty pleasure." Some don't really dig it. And some, like me, are very willing to say that they love it. I love the art direction and how the well-done effects impressively realize the fiery decay of Hell and its minions. I love the dialogue exchanges and the fact that I'm for once not bored by Shia LaBeouf. I love how the action/event sequences play out in unexpcted ways and the personal journeys the characters have to take. I love the wild, world-ending plot. And I love the performances, Peter Stormare most of all and Keanu Reeves far from least of all. To my mind he is able to take what makes him Keanu Reeves and mold those qualities to fit the grim, noir-like tone of the character and the disturbing world in which he inhabits.
CONSTANTINE is the very definition of a solid movie, one that is far from awful and not far at all from great. Whenever I put it on I am surprised anew by just how sucked in I become. Whether I'm studying the visual world created by director Francis Lawrence, laughing at some quip from John Constatine, or grimacing in disgust at some horrible creature/character fate, I'm always genuinely entertained. And so it has always saddened me that there wasn't a follow-up, something to take the world that was established and run with it in a new and exciting cinematic direction.
It is of course very true that not all sequels are made equal, and there are certain criteria that make some more successful than others insofar as "good filmmaking" goes.
1) Is there an organic place for a sequel to go? There are so many places that it's not even fair. The filmmakers could outright adapt any of the plethora of comics featuring CONSTANTINE that are running around, or they could go the Nolan route and take inspiration while crafting their own rendition. Either way, the material is there. The characters are established. The world is rich. A CONSTANTINE sequel could go a dozen different ways, and they would all be equally valid.
2) Is there somewhere for the characters to go? While CONSTANTINE does a solid enough job wrapping up this particular adventure and John Constatine's growth as a human being/character, that doesn't mean he has nowhere to go. On the contrary, he has a very specific (and fascinating) place to go: down. Way the hell down, pun intended. Not that he needs to be taken "darker" or anything, but CONSTANTINE ends with John on something of a high note having saved humanity and quit smoking at the same time. But that only means that a subsequent fall would hit him and those he cares about all the harder, giving him a path towards finding the "belief" that Gabriel spoke of rather than the "knowledge" he currently possesses. On that note, Gabriel of course has a very interesting new place in this mortal world that would be interesting to explore. John's relationship with her, as well as with other characters such as Papa Midnight, could make for some really meaty moviemaking.
3) Is there somewhere for the story to go that isn't just a rehash? There's only one way to really answer this: see #1.
4) Would it make the first movie better? Yes, precisely because such a troubled character was left on a light note amidst an altogether intriguing cinematic world. Of course the comics play host to John Constatine's expanded world and all of the strange and unique characters therein, but the cinematic rendition of his story realized the world rather well. And yet there are so many aspects of the world left unspoken of, characters put aside, and powers unrealized that it's a downright shame. And speaking of #2's reference to the distinction made by Gabriel to John, CONSTANTINE left John's story unfinished. He hasn't reached a place of belief rather than knowledge, nor has his fate been decided should it be impossible for him to reach such a point. I'd say there's plenty of room to enhance the impact of the first movie with the addition of a second.
5) Is it possible to guarantee more of Rachel Weisz wearing a soaking-wet white shirt? "Guarantee" may be a bit of a strong word, but Weisz has shown in the years since CONSTANTINE that she is still a friend to the world of genre cinema. Not to mention how she still maintains the sort of star power that would help (even in some small way) to get folks into theaters. And while he wasn't part of the question, I imagine that Peter Stormare would be game for another turn as Lucifer - his performance was so unexpected, quirky, and terrifying that he must have had an absolute ball being involved. And it would awfully difficult to tell another CONSTANTINE tale without the involvement of Lucifer, so let's just go ahead and say that the two of them would tag along if a sequel ever came to pass.
So that's what I think, though those thoughts of course only raise more questions. Would the new story acknowledge the passage of time between 2005 and now and the toll it may have taken on the actors involved? Should the plot seek to top that of the first movie, or maintain the same level of weight and impact while dealing primarily with the journey of the characters? How could the plot be topped? What new characters might be brought in from the comics or created fresh?
For now though, leave your responses below and we'll tally the results for the next column!
SO DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD MAKE A SEQUEL OR NOT?
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|Extra Tidbit:||Last week's subject was Tim Burton's SLEEPY HOLLOW, with the general consensus being that a sequel might be kind of fun but far from actively hoped for. Which I think counts more as a "no" than anything else.|