Robert Rodriguez has one of the strangest careers of anyone for his relatively high level of fame within Hollywood circles. Looking specifically at the type of kids movie he typically makes it’s very easy to point and laugh at his hyper earnest wish fulfilment narratives. It has not grown or evolved in the last 20 years. That said someone believes his style has an audience because along comes Netflix funding his latest effort We Can Be Heroes. Marketed as a belated sequel to The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl ( it isn’t beyond existing in the same universe and the titular characters making cameos.) This is Rodriguez’s attempts to cash in on the omnipresence of superheroes in contemporary culture. This time the director brings along Pedro Pascal which automatically scores the film some zeitgeists points. The final product is hammy, overacted and has adult supporting actors who are far too talented for this nonsense ( Pascal, Christian Slater and Priyanka Chopra among others.) It feels like it escaped from a time vortex stuck in 2003.
As a critic who has sat through the gauntlet of mediocre to terrible Disney + Originals most are a perfect example of the obvious cynically, mercenary nature of modern kids entertainment. Something about the films tackey nature was invigoratingly earnest. This doesn’t mean it is worth recommending in any way to anyone outside of the target audience ( those eight and under. ) However this jaded viewer would happily sit through it five times over if the alternative was suffering Secret Society of Secondborn Royals again ( covered on this very blog).
In all honesty as a disabled viewer, the film also deserves some credit for prominent inclusion of a disabled hero, This will be the chance for several activists to jump down this writers throat and tell me the actor playing the disabled character was not disabled himself ( it’s Hollywood that’s unfortunate but expected.) The sentiment certainly comes from the right place and having had cerebral palsy since birth this critic would have got a massive kick out of seeing wheelchair users represented like this if he was the target audience for the film
Robert Rodriguez’s We Can be Heroes will be potentially excruciating for anyone outside the target audience who is not on board with his specific brand of children’s entertainment. We li\an age where so much of the competition feel cynical and calculated there’s something mildly endearing about his extremely dated brand of cheese infused optimism. It makes the film decidedly more memorable than some of the alternatives. If parents and other viewers think this is the worst contemporary kids entertainment has to offer this critic will happily sit whoever it is down and forced them to watch any number of mediocre Disney straight to streaming efforts released over the past year.