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YMMV / Constantine

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From the movie:

  • Broken Base: It was intended to introduce Constantine to a U.S. audience. Right out of the gate, it had several strikes against it:
    1. First, it was an adaptation of a lesser-known comic, and it isn't particularly faithful to the source material. Constantine isn't blond, British or working class, and he's an exorcist rather than a grifter. Keanu was a weird choice and it isn't one of his best performances. Longtime readers had none of it. Those people started from a position of resentment and the movie wasn't going to win them back. Newcomers were confused by the deeper universe and lore only hinted at in the movie.
    2. The plot is confusing. We start with twin psychics: one is dead, the other sees her alive in dreams, and the dead twin is in Hell because she committed suicide, only she would never do that, because she had an important message to deliver or something. Demons are introduced, and immediately break a 'rule' we don't know about until after it happens. Whenever the main character needs something, he immediately goes to a place which didn't exist before, meets a person who didn't exist before, and gets a trinket which didn't exist before. Side characters unceremoniously appear and die without any sense of importance (e.g. Shia LaBeouf). The bad guy changes four times.
    • It has merits aplenty when viewed as its own work. The effects hold up, each of the characters are likable, and it seems to have introduced Generation Z to Stormare and Swinton.
  • Complete Monster: In John Shirley's Novelization: Mammon, son of Satan, decides to kick-start the apocalypse and bring Hell on Earth. To do so, he takes possession of the scavenger Francesco, corrupts him with false promises of power and luxury, and drives him into a killing spree, claiming the life of ten people. He also sends assassins after Constantine and his allies. Abducting the psychic Angela Dodson, Mammon attempts to break her will by forcing her to watch human misery and crimes, and when this fails, offers her to be raped by Francesco. Eventually to rise on Earth, he takes possession of her body and attempts to have her sacrificed by his accomplice Gabriel.
  • Creepy Awesome: Peter Stormare as Lucifer, and it's exactly as terrifying and slimy (but still somehow cool) as it sounds. Even people who hate the movie admit that this was the role Stormare was born to play.
  • Foe Yay: Lucifer plays footsie with the dying John to make him uncomfortable. A barefoot Gabriel gets a scene where they trample and manhandle John while taunting him. Tilda is no supermodel, but the way she dominates Reeves is clearly meant to be titillating, though scary. She succeeds at those.
  • In Name Only: Good film but a bad adaptation. Apparently it got slapped with the Constantine name late in development.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: You'll find movie fans who usually frown upon comic adaptations agreeing that there's few roles in Tilda Swinton's career that suited her as perfectly as the archangel Gabriel.
  • Mis-blamed: Reeves is singled for pretty much every alteration, including changing the setting to glamorous L.A. (Conveniently the city is always overcast or rainy, which makes one wonder why they didn't set it further east.) Rumors had it that he couldn't do the proper accent. In truth, casting Reeves was one of the last decisions after all the other changes had been settled on.
  • Nausea Fuel: Satan rummaging around in Constantine's chest with his hands and ripping out the tumors by force.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Hell and the demons inhabiting it. Hell is implied to be a dark reflection of our world rather than its own realm. The demons are missing their craniums because they're only capable of sniffing the air for prey and devouring them.
    • The novelization is even worse, as it goes into some of the torments in-depth, such as the buildings being built from bricks that are actually damned souls (many of whom are inquisitors from the Spanish Inquisition among them), and describes Angela looking into the mind of the Scavenger and seeing herself being raped by him (Mammon had promised him Angela as a sex toy if he complied with his wishes).
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Peter Stormare as Lucifer. It's not a flattering portrayal (he looks like all seven of those old Deadly Sins smashed together), but he instantly seems like baddest motherf*cker in the room. There's a reason why Stormare is the patron saint of One-Scene Wonders.
    • Swinton as Gabriel gets two scenes that communicate a ton of character and lore without much dialog.
  • Scenery Porn: Say what you want about the film, but the visual effects of Hell are amazing and decidedly Hellish.
  • Signature Song: "Passive" by A Perfect Circle.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: The movie could be argued to be a better adaptation of The Dresden Files than Hellblazer.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Add it to the stack of Alan Moore adaptations that have been shunned by their creator.
  • Vindicated by History: Lambasted by fans and critics alike at release, as time has gone on many movie-goers have come to consider it a pretty decent movie, just not a good Hellblazer movie.
  • What an Idiot!: Balthazar doesn't realize that you can't be forgiven of your sins unwillingly. Then again, he's implied to have been born in Hell and they probably don't teach theology down there.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Dark haired Canadian Keanu Reeves as Constantine. Shia LaBeouf as... well, pretty much anyone might qualify, but playing a character who is normally John's contemporary (Chas) is a bit odd.

     The series 

From the series:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In "The Saint of Last Resorts," is John being honest with Anne Marie when he gives her the spiel about how no cost is too high to protect the innocent, especially if the innocent is a baby, or is he talking out of his ass because he knows she'll fall for it and do what he wants? Later on, is Anne Marie being honest when she repeats it, or is she just throwing it back in Constantine's face to add insult to injury when she shoots him to protect the children from the Invunche?
  • Author's Saving Throw: Although the show was canceled despite fan campaigns to save it, it was retconned into being a part of the Arrowverse with John getting a guest appearance in an early episode of Arrow season 4 and becoming a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: A three legged deer randomly appears in "Rage of Caliban" and nothing is said about it after the incident.
  • Broken Base: Pre-release, the show got a rather nasty one after it was said that John would not be bisexual in the show, as the creators deemed it unnecessary to his character. Unfortunately, they also added "And besides, he sleeps with mostly women anyways." While there are some who didn't care (citing how John's romantic partners tend to die in the comics, how he only ever slept with one man in the comics, or that they would judge the show when it came out and not before), a lot of viewers (particularly people who are LGBT themselves, or sympathetic/supportive towards such) were upset at the bi erasure. It doesn't help that bisexuality in particular, especially male bisexuals, are largely ignored in media depictions, and that LGBT characters in comic books rarely get adaptations, especially ones that retain their LGBT status. While David Goyer was quick to note that they never said he wasn't bisexual, John was never once shown hooking up with men, only women.
  • Cant Unhear It: Following his acclaimed performance in the series Matt Ryan is regarded as the Constantine and become the de facto performer. He has reprised his role as Constantine for all of the character's subsequent appearances with the children's series Justice League Action so far being the only exception.
  • Complete Monster:
    • "A Whole World Out There": Jacob Shaw evaded punishment after getting caught by transferring his mind from his body to a Pocket Dimension found during his occult studies, where he essentially became a god-like Reality Warper, able to live out his sick fantasies as much as he wanted. When a group of teenagers accidentally trespasses into his realm, he takes this as an opportunity to live out his sadistic pleasure even more. He starts hunting the teenagers in the real world by appearing on reflective surfaces, driving them nearly insane, and then brutally killing 3 out of 4 via impaling, dismembering with a knife, and suffocation. Afterwards, he keeps the souls of the deceased in his realm, where he keeps on torturing them and tells them that they will experience a never-ending circle of getting hunted down and killed by him, all just because he enjoys it.
    • "Waiting for the Man": "The Man" is introduced as a Satanic redneck who abducted three little girls and murdered them, afterwards raising their spirits to make them his mindlessly devoted "brides". He sends them off to find another bride for him, and while waiting for them to return he brutally tortures and murders a bypassing, helpful man in a ritualistic way, for seemingly no other reason than being near him at the wrong time. It is revealed that "The Man" also murdered his real wife six years ago as a sacrifice for Satan. Later, John and his crew arrive in the nick of time, just before "The Man" was going to subject the fourth girl to the same horrific fate his three brides suffered. "The Man" is such a despicable individual that John Constantine and Jim Corrigan decide to outright murder him instead of just having him face the law.
  • Cult Classic: The show has a strong online following, but apparently, it wasn't strong enough for NBC to renew it for a second season. Six months after NBC cancelled the show and Warner Bros. released the actors and staff from their contracts, fans have started a petition in an effort to get the series uncancelled on another network, especially after Constantine's guest appearance on Arrow.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Anne Marie managed to win over a lot of fans despite her short appearance. This may have to do with the fact she's one of the more moral characters on the show, able to stand up to John, has a strong link with his character, and is played by the very lovely Claire van der Bloom.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The reluctance of Constantine to call himself a "Master of the Dark Arts" at first seems like a Running Gag, but the end of the pilot episode shows there is a very serious reason: his arrogance in assuming he was this and summoning a very powerful demon to take a lesser demon away, rather than exorcising said lesser demon instead, showed that he was, in his own mind, not worthy of calling himself a "Master", but rather the "Petty Dabbler" he calls himself in the show.
  • Growing the Beard: Audiences and Critics are like thought the first few episodes to be So Okay, It's Average, but showing potential. But audiences and critics alike both agree that episode four, "A Feast For Friends", which introduces more of Constantine's moral problems and backstory, is when the show really started picking up steam.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: John's promise that he is coming for Astra in the first episode becomes even more heartbreaking when, in Legends of Tomorrow, he does... only for Astra to have been corrupted by Hell in the meantime, causing her to take revenge on John and use him as an Unwitting Pawn.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Manny coming to sit by John after he was forced to sacrifice Gary and condemn him to a long, lingering death.
    • Zed letting John know after her psychic venture into the spirit world in "Angels and Ministers of Grace" that his mother does not blame him for her death during childbirth. This revelation causes John to relax in bed next to Zed with a genuine smile on his face.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "The Devil's Vinyl," John uses loud punk music in headphones to drown out the mind-controlling audio that's causing people around him to fight to the death. And he gets the headphones knocked out, forcing him to start fighting. Cut to almost one year exactly after the episode airs, and the finale of Jessica Jones does all of those same things.
  • Memetic Mutation: John's Magic Card has been called Psychic Paper.
  • Older Than They Think: Some fans unfamiliar with the comics think Papa Midnite's "Ace of Winchesters" is a reference to Supernatural. In fact it is an artifact created in the comics, specifically as the main plot device between the Hellblazer/Hitman crossover Garth Ennis wrote.
  • The Scrappy: When the pilot was leaked, multiple critics online didn't like Liv, which helped cause her being written out. The AV Club and IGN both felt that Liv's departure was ultimately for the better. Considering that she was replaced by Zed, so did many of the fans.
  • Screwed by the Network: Early restrictions on smoking and darker material hurt the first three episodes. Coupled with some out-of-order episodes (the Halloween episode airing four weeks after Halloween) and a lack of marketing saw low ratings, on an already bad timeslot (Friday nights). Just as ratings were picking up steadily each week thanks to word of mouth, NBC had already halted production. And then waited half a year to decide on the fate of the show.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: A lot of potential viewers probably skipped the show because they thought it was just a rip-off of Supernatural.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Besides the above issue, some fans are also up in arms because the pilot mispronounces his name. The I sound towards the end if supposed to be long vowel, like "tyne" but they pronounce it "teen".
    • Also, NBC's restriction against explicit smoking though John is famously a chain-smoker. The pilot tries to work around it like by showing only cigarettes being stubbed out. Later on this is completely dropped, as several episodes have explicitly shown John smoking.
    • In a strange turn of events, some fans are taking umbrage with the fact that the show is taking more cues from the source material than the film. A case of 'They changed it back, now it sucks.'
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: It's obvious that the decision of Liv not staying on the show was made very late in production of the pilot, with all the backstory built up for her going to waste. The plot of at least the first season still depends upon her involvement as well, since Constantine is following the markings she left behind on the map.
  • The Woobie: John's father used to call him "Killer" and physically abuse him, due to his mother dying in childbirth.

     Animated Reboot 
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The plot-line of Chas' daughter's soul being held hostage along with others and Constantine and Chas having to get her back had already been done in the live-action show in the episode "Quid Pro Quo"
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The Newcastle Crew being adapted out.


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