Review: We Can Be Heroes

WECAN BE HEROES:  (L-R) TAYLOR DOOLEY as LAVAGIRL, JJ DASHNAW AS SHARKBOY. Cr. NETFLIX © 2020

On Christmas Day Netflix drops it’s latest in house movie We Can Be Heroes. A sequel of sorts to Robert Rodriguez Shark Boy and Lavagirl, Rodriguez brings the proceedings up to date with the superhero offspring and their attempt to save the world from a alien invasion.

When alien invaders kidnap Earth’s superheroes, their kids are whisked away to a government safe house. But whip-smart tween Missy Moreno will stop at nothing to rescue her superhero dad, Marcus Moreno. Missy teams up with the rest of the superkids to escape their mysterious government babysitter, Ms. Granada. If they’re going to save their parents, they’ll have to work together by using their individual powers – from elasticity to time control to predicting the future – and form an out-of-this-world team.

First off, We Can Be Heroes is squarely aimed at a younger audience and therefore gets a bit of a pass on some of the films weaknesses. In what seems like a collision of Sky High and script that was dropped as a sequel to the Incredibles, Robert Rodriguez once again brings his ultra bright and neon world to the screen. It’s non stop adventure for the junior super-crew as they escape the clutches of the aliens, learn to work together and finally save the planet from the impending alien invasion, so expect lots of silly gags, people falling over, banging into things and the bad guys looking stupid in general. Despite being adults vs. the kids.

We Can Be Heroes plot is paper thin and the big reveals are going to be obvious to most long before they finally announce themselves to the audience so don’t expect something as layered as Inception.

Of the adult cast led by man of the hour Pedro Pascal, are all very aware of what they signed up to and happily play along, well all except Taylor Lautner who hasn’t returned as Shark Boy, maybe because his role is reduced to gurning and making guttural noises. Although that said that might have suited his overall acting ability. Taylor Dooley however does return as Lavagirl, not that you would know it as all the adult heroes including Mr Pascal, Christian Slater and Fast and the Furious Sung Kang get barely any screen time as it’s all about the kids this time round.

And the junior cast are all precocious enough while still being pretty good for their money, fulfilling the stereotypes (rule breaker, the clever one, the shy one, the comedy foil and arguing siblings) that are set before them. While not too much is asked from them throughout this adventure, they all are quite endearing.

So where does We Can Be Heroes leave us? Well, not exactly wanting more and it’s certainly not going to appease the Shark Boy and Lavagirl fans. However, if you actually think back, it’s probably being remembered through rose tinted glasses as the original wasn’t that memorable anyway. Rodriguez Spy Kids franchise was far more engaging.

However, with the choice of this or Disney+’s Soul on Christmas Day, We Can Be Heroes could struggle. More a choice for the Boxing Day malaise, when you need something to distract the kids. It’ll keep them occupied for a little while, but it’s not one thats going to garner repeat viewings.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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