How Keanu Reeves' Return For Constantine Sequel Aims To Be More Like The Comics (And A Little Like John Wick)

News of the Constantine sequel sent DC fans into a frenzy. Their feelings were reasonable given the original film hit theaters 17 years ago. The cherry on top was getting OG director Francis Lawrence, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and John Constantine himself Keanu Reeves to return for another battle with the underworld. A lot has changed for superhero movies since the first film was released in 2005. The mature themes from the first film might get a little darker, according to Lawrence. The filmmaker explained how Reeves’ return as John Constantine will be more like the comics with some John Wick for good measure.

Constantine dealt with a myriad of heavy themes, including life and death. But because most comics-to-screen adaptations were meant to appeal to teens and adults, Lawrence and crew had to follow a strict mandate by Warner Bros. to get a PG-13 rating. Unfortunately for the Hunger Games director, his efforts to follow the rule didn’t end well. He spoke about how he regretted caving to the studio’s demands only to be slapped with an R-rating.

One of the biggest things for me about the first one was we followed, per Warner Bros., the rules to make a PG-13 movie in terms of violence, blood, language, sexuality. But the rating board gave us a hard R based on their gray zone of intensity. And my big, big regret was that we have an R-rated movie that’s a PG-13 movie. And if I was going to have to go have an R, I would have made an R-rated movie. I would have made it much scarier and much more violent and I would have made an R-rated movie. The idea this time, at least for me, is to really go at it and make a real R-rated Constantine which is, I think, what people always wanted originally, not the PG-13 version that just happens to get an R.

Given the dark nature of the DC universe, it’s only understandable that the director would want to tap into the heavier subjects associated with the DC exorcist. When the first Constantine movie arrived in 2005, audiences’ tolerance for violence, strong language, and sex was just starting to loosen a bit so the R-rating seemed appropriate for the mature comic book movie. Now, Constantine’s content is considered child’s play compared to today’s R-rated films. It seems like this time around Francis Lawrence is set on earning the mature rating on his terms.

Modeling the character closer to the comics could set it apart from other comic book movies. Leaning into violence like the John Wick series could be an advantage as well for those unfamiliar with the first film. Hopefully Lawrence, the cast, and the crew don’t go full assassin mode on any demons.

Francis Lawrence not only wants to go full throttle with the comics’ mature content but wants to show another side to the beloved supernatural detective's history. Given the dark tone of the first movie, the filmmaker admitted to mistakenly leaving out John Constantine’s dry humor. He mentioned to The Wrap how he wants to bring the character’s funnier side to the sequel.

I think John Constantine is a funny character in a darkly comic kind of way and I would want to definitely add more of that sarcastic, cynical sense of humor to the story.

Getting into the comics’ humor would be just another way to bring some levity to John Constantine’s supernatural world. It’s been working for Deadpool, which is on its second sequel

Fans of the occult detective haven’t been the only ones clamoring for more Constantine as the Slumberland director admitted he, Akiva Goldsman, and Keanu Reeves have been pushing for a follow-up for years. He blamed some of the delays on ownership issues between Warner Bros. and DC. But the issue has been resolved with the creation of DC Studios headed by James Gunn. Lawrence mentioned the trio is currently mulling over potential storylines and ideas for the character’s big-screen return.

While there’s no official release date for Constantine 2, you can watch the original film through an HBO Max subscription. Once you’re done watching the movie, go watch every DC movie in order.

Adreon Patterson
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