Accuracy in comedian guide diversifications is a critical query, and diversifications have needed to cope with it since George Reeves and Adam West. It usually means discovering locations with room to wiggle. Departing from canon has the potential to assist the characters develop and increase but additionally runs the danger of diluting what makes them particular within the first place. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, for instance, is beloved even supposing she differs in quite a few methods from the comics. Halle Berry’s Catwoman, alternatively, slipped so removed from the character she grew to become unrecognizable.
Generally talking, the extra correct an adaptation might be, the higher, as witnessed by the success of Netflix’s The Sandman, amongst others. But that does not all the time need to be the case, particularly when the modifications are largely superficial. The latest announcement of a sequel in improvement for 2005’s Constantine — that includes a return of Keanu Reeves’ distinctive tackle the character — is proof that canon is not all the pieces.
John Constantine started as a supporting character in Swamp Thing #37 by Alan Moore, Stephen R. Bissette, Rick Veitch and John Totleben and shortly graduated to a line of his personal. His Hellblazer comedian was a staple of DC’s Vertigo line for a few years, and the character popped up in quite a few different traces. However, when the time got here for a film adaptation, sure modifications have been crucial. It wanted to convey Constantine to a wider viewers, which meant issues like narrowing its focus to Christian mythology and chopping Constantine’s hyperlink to the bigger DC Universe.
It additionally meant getting an A-list star to headline it. According to a contemporary report in Variety, Nicolas Cage was slated to play Constantine however dropped out solely to get replaced by Reeves. Both actors represented a pointy visible departure from the comedian guide incarnation: a blonde cockney Englishman famously impressed by Sting. Cage and Reeves — each dark-haired males — hardly ever modified hair shade to match a job. Furthermore, Reeves’ means with a British accent was suspect, having tried one in Bram Stoker’s Dracula with lower than convincing outcomes.
As a outcome, the character made his live-action debut as a dark-haired American with a radical change in background and motivation. In the comics, he features magical powers from a mixture of examine and an ancestral bloodline and infrequently will get haunted. Reeves’ model is born with a second sight that permits him to see angels and demons. The torment of it induces a suicide try: giving him a glimpse of the hell awaiting him earlier than being despatched again. He battles demons to purchase his approach out of his destiny, hoping to earn good graces with God by vanquishing the forces of Lucifer.
And but, beneath the floor particulars, Reeves’ Constantine could be very a lot the identical determine. He’s cynical, caustic and manipulative and all the time in search of the angle within the supposedly pure motives of others. He’s additionally well-versed within the supernatural — to the purpose the place it not holds any fears for him — whereas demonstrating a talent for misdirection that usually lets him outwit his opponents. And like his comedian guide counterpart, these near Constantine have a approach of ending up useless, one thing that does not assist his eternally pessimistic outlook.
All of that may be seen clearly in Reeves’ efficiency, regardless of the variation in look and background. It helped Constantine change into a success and maintain it because it grew right into a cult basic. In the interim, Matt Ryan delivered a extra comics-accurate model to much-deserved acclaim. Yet, even with that in hand, followers have welcomed information of a Reeves-centered sequel with open arms. Canon is necessary, nevertheless it would not outline a mission’s high quality.