Netflix Review We Can Be Heroes

Many films released this year look frighteningly current, from the zombie film # Vivo to the legal drama The Chicago Trial 7. Robert Rodriguez’s new superhero film We Can Be Heroes does not (involuntarily) appear to be about 2020 , but the future, as his film declares that those who will really be able to save the world are children – and everyone else should just shut up and let them work. Despite being a colorful superhero show, We Can Be Heroes looks like Rodriguez’s most personal project in years. We Can Be Heroes takes place in a world full of superheroes, who work together under the banner “The Heroics”. But when an army of aliens kidnaps all the superheroes on Earth, it’s up to your superpowered children to do something about it. The film was widely publicized as the return of the former superhero duo of Rodriguez, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, but this is not their film. Sure, they do – and there’s even a joke about Sharkboy enjoying singing, probably in reference to the classic pop “Sharkboy’s Lullaby” – but Sharkboy’s original actor Taylor Lautner has been replaced by stunt actor JJ Dashnaw and this dynamic duo is is not the focus of this film.

Instead, we followed Missy Moreno (Yaya Gosselin), the daughter of Heroic leader Marcus (Pedro Pascal). Although she has no superpowers and is usually a shy girl who spends the morning deciding which outfit is most likely to make other children leave her alone, she alone manages to make a group of 11 incompatible super kids work together. Although the script mostly follows the same beats in the story you would expect, Rodriguez performs these beats with a T, creating a child-friendly response to The Avengers that nevertheless feels like something of its own.

One of the ways the film does this is by showing inventive superpowers that we don’t often see in such films. Although adults are the typical superhero team that includes a replacement superman (Boyd Holbrook), a super-speed guy (Sung Kang) and a cyborg-like tech guy (Christian Slater), the powers of tweens are smaller versions of what your parents can do. The son of the film’s response to Flash only runs in slow motion, the son of the tech guy who can do everything has all the powers of the book, but can never control them. A pair of twins have full control of the time, but only when they work together, otherwise they can only move forward or back a few minutes. The son of the pseudo-Superman is a wheelchair user whose “legs are too strong to be supported by bones”. Through them, the film conveys its main theme: children really are more powerful and able to save the world than their parents. They are conditioned to think otherwise.Rodriguez’s family production has always been about kids saving the day while rescuing their parents, but We Can Be Heroes seems to be the first time he’s really saying something with these films. It is not just that adults are very self-centered and prefer to argue and fight among themselves rather than do things, but that younger generations must be trusted to solve the many problems that their parents left them. With We Can Be Heroes, Rodriguez is facing the world he is leaving behind for his children and making sure he encourages them to do better than their generation did.

It is no accident then that We Can Be Heroes is not presented as a Troublemaker Studios film, but as a Double R Production, referring to the production company that Rodriguez formed with his sons Racer and Rebel. In fact, the author of Rebel Without a Crew is known for taking on multiple roles in his films and employing most of his family to help them do them. While Rodriguez directed, wrote, produced, shot and edited this film, his son Racer co-produced it, Rebel composed the soundtrack and the main elements of the film’s production design were made by Rogue and Rhiannon Rodriguez.

We Can Be Heroes has a unique aesthetic that looks like the logical step for Spy Kids and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. It is still very colorful and cartoonish, especially the scenarios introduced in the third act, but now they don’t seem to be just for young people, but made by young people. This film is the closest thing we have to the spirit of the classic Nickelodeon of the late 80s and early 90s.

In a time when superhero films dominate box office and pop culture conversations, surprisingly few of them are aimed directly at children, the primary target audience for which comics were originally created. We Can Be Heroes, by Robert Rodriguez, aspires to fill this void with a cheerful and optimistic story for children that inspires them to be better than their parents and save the world, while offering all the emotions you would expect from movies of conventional superheroes that adults also appreciate.

Netflix Spotlight: December 2020