We Can Be Heroes Review

Earth is under attack from an alien army. But when resident superheroes The Heroics are captured to repel the invasion, it’s left to their children to save the day.By Ian Freer | Posted 25 Dec 2020Doing for superhero flicks what Spy Kids did for secret agent films, We Can Be Heroes , Robert Rodriguez ’s return to lo-fi children’s films, is frenetic but not always fun. The set-up is simple: infallible superhero team The Heroics — including Marcus Moreno (Pedro Pascal ), Miracle Guy (Boyd Holbrook ), Tech-No (Christian Slater ) and Sharkboy (JJ Dashnaw) and Lavagirl (Taylor Dooley), making this a quasi-sequel to Rodriguez’s 2005 flick — are kidnapped by an armada of invading aliens, giving Earth just three hours before the takeover. For her own safety, Missy (YaYa Gosselin), Moreno’s daughter but with no special abilities, is placed in an impregnable underground bunker with the superpowered offspring of The Heroics.

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi." After first completing the arduous 600-foot climb on Ireland's Skellig Michael island, Mark Hamill had hoped that he could avoid having to repeat the trek for additional scenes if he could somehow remain on the summit overnight, thus forfeiting the luxury of room service at his hotel. He suggested sleeping in a tent and 'staying in character.' However, after some inquiries were made with the Irish authorities, he was told by producer Kathleen Kennedy that he was not permitted to pitch a tent because the location is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At this point, Rodriguez creates an interminable clunky scene in which the kids introduce their powers — including bendiness, a dynamic singing range, slow motion, rewinding and fast-forwarding time, the ability to transform faces — and it soon becomes clear that the youngsters will have to evade the director of the Heroics programme, Ms Granada (Priyanka Chopra Jonas , doing kids’ film acting to the hilt), and come together to rescue their parents and save the planet. Throughout the flick, Rodriguez sews in some fun digs at comic-book movie tropes, around the genre’s penchant for holding brawls in overpopulated cities or the fiddly nature of superhero costumes (none of this stuff reaches Incredibles level of genius). And, as with the Spy Kids flicks, it’s gaudy, good-natured and inclusive. But the plotting, even by kids’ film standards, is predictable and rudimentary, the action scenes (an escape by hover train, the stealing of an alien supply ship) are lacklustre and the messaging heavy-handed (there’s so much over-delivered guff about the need to work together and believe in yourself). Some of the characters register — Guppy (Vivien Lyra Blair), the offspring of Sharkboy and Lavagirl who can shape water, and Ojo (Hala Finley), who can draw events five minutes into the future — but more often than not the kids don’t have personalities beyond their powers, while the likes of Pascal, Holbrook and Slater are reduced to endless scenes of bickering among themselves.

The Bridge Explosion in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Had to Be Shot Twice. The big scene in this Spaghetti Western classic—when Blondie and Tuco blow up the bridge leading to the cemetery where the gold is believed to be buried—had to be shot twice. A misunderstanding led to the dynamite around the bridge being detonated before cameras were ready to catch it, requiring the bridge to be rebuilt and the whole thing to be shot again.

Depending on your point of view, Rodriguez’s filmmaking, especially the visual effects, has scrappy, low-budget charm or bears no comparison to what we see in the MCU (the Sci-fi Set Design 101 of the spacecraft interiors has a plot reason). It’s a film with its heart firmly in the right place but very little else. And that includes not one but two terrible cover versions of Bowie’s title track, a song about love across the Berlin Wall repurposed for a by-the-numbers training montage. Rodriguez has fun coming up with some new-ish powers and there are knowing send-ups of superhero lore, but the takeaway is thin and forgettable.

"2001: A Space Odyssey." Stanley Kubrick destroyed almost all of his props and sets from 2001: A Space Odyssey because he didn't want them to be used in any lesser science fiction films.

Movies:

  • We Can Be Heroes
  • Spy Kids

Actors:

  • Robert Rodriguez
  • Pedro Pascal
  • Boyd Holbrook
  • Christian Slater
  • Priyanka Chopra
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