When alien invaders capture Earth’s superheroes, their kids must learn to work together to save their parents — and the planet.
Runtime: 1hr 40m
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: YaYa Gosselin, Pedro Pascal, Priyanka Chopra, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Akira Akbar, Christian Slater, Boyd Holbrook, Adriana Barraza, Taylor Dooley, Vivien Lyra Blair, Hala Finley, Lyon Daniels, Sung Kang, Christopher McDonald, Andy Walken, Lotus Blossom, Haley Reinhart, Nathan Blair, Dylan Henry Lau, Andrew Diaz
Information Page: https://www.newonnetflix.info/info/80994666
My kids grew up loving films like “Spy Kids” and “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” and, I’ll be honest, as a parent that had just hit 30, I quite enjoyed them myself too. There was something about the films that struck a chord with both young and old. They were just pleasant family films with decent messages, good action, not overly cheesy or preachy and the bright visual styles just made things more fun to watch. They were, in essence, regular adult films that just happened to be targeted at kids as opposed to traditional kids films. I have no idea if that makes sense, but it does to me. At the time I never registered that Robert Rodriguez was the same Rodriguez that co-made “From Dusk Till Dawn” and 90s sci-fi flick “The Faculty” (and in more recent years “Machete” and “Predators”). I think because they are massively different styles of films.
Anyway, jump ahead a decade and my eldest saw that “We Can Be Heroes” was getting released and featured his favourite childhood movie characters, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, and made by the same person as the film and the “Spy Kids” series. were going to be in it and we definitely need to watch it! To be honest, it didn’t surprise me – that same ‘fun for everyone’ feeling I got in my early 30s had transcended to my almost 16 year old son and my almost 14 year old daughter who both really wanted to watch this new ‘kids film’. Anyway, that’s enough of my jibber jabber, let’s get on with the review.
First of all don’t worry if you have never seen “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” – while the two characters returning for this film was massively hyped, they are not really that important to the story. In fact, Rodriguez has stated that he wasn’t planning on putting them in as he wanted an original story but they happened to fit into the story naturally – so they got a reprising role. The film opens with us seeing the Earth under attack by an alien armada so a government organisation sends out all their super heroes, The Heroics, to defend the Earth. Meanwhile their children are put into lockdown for their own safety and forced to do their school work on laptops (sound familiar?!) As the attack continues, the Heroics fail at their mission and are picked off and captured one by one. Their children, watching this live on TV, decide they need to break out and save their parents. Oh, I forgot to mention – all the children, except one, have super powers too – albeit with some flaws…
The children’s powers are quite interesting and the fact they all have flaws makes it fairly obvious where the story is going to go – they must overcome their flaws, become a team and save the world. The flaws also add to the comedy element of the film – let’s be honest, turning yourself into a toaster is funny, regardless of your age.
As the story progresses we learn that the aliens are going to begin their takeover in 3 hours and the kids begin to train to hone their skills. With time running out they end up hijacking a spaceship and heading off to the mother ship in order to save their parents and save the world. There are lots of great scenes on the ship with various comedy moments, some great action and the key to any great film: a clever plot twist / reveal.
The adult cast are great and even includes “The Mandalorian” star Pedro Pascal and Christian Slater but it’s the kids who are the real stars of “We Can Be Heroes”. They all do a great job and, if I had any complaint, it’s that Vivien Lyra Blair (‘Girl’ from “Bird Box“), who plays Guppy, isn’t a particularly great actor – that being said she was only about 7 at the time of filming in late 2019 so I’m probably being unduly harsh.
Overall I really enjoyed this film. The story was good, the cast great, it looks amazing and it had a great mixture of action and comedy. Admittedly, there are some parts of the film that The Internet will probably pick apart but that’s just what they do so we can ignore them. Give it a shot – it’s a fun film for all ages – even if you’re watching without kids and with a runtime of 1hr 40 it’s not something that drags on.
If you’ve already seen it and enjoyed it then you may be pleased to know that there’s also going to be a sequel!
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!