We Can Be Heroes, the Robert Rodriguez return to family entertainment, is not quite good, but it is far more competent and watchable than I feared, especially given the car crash that was the Spy Kids reboot.
Rodriguez takes a fresh stab at a Crayola action pic with sci-fi flavors. It lacks the Freudian blast of energy and weirdness of its inspiration, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, but has a much more conventional and effective story.
The story is basically a tweeny Avengers clone, and the movie does a good job making each of its characters fairly distinct. We Can Be Heroes gets a lot of visual creativity out of the varied powers of the characters. The set pieces are pretty solid and clever. Pedro Pascal is overqualified but still welcome as the lead adult actor.
There’s a big ending twist that is of dubious plausibility, but it at least fits well with the world and themes of the movie.
The writing doesn’t dig as deep as I hoped; the film is missing a sense of reflection and self-criticism that Rodriguez’s most personal films has. There’s an air of triviality to the whole thing, but it’s a kids movie, so that’s a feature, not a bug.
Nearly Good (4/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.