Number of Film-Adaptation Attempts Thus Far: 1
When your movie adaptation doesn’t even bother to retain the original work’s title, you know you’re in trouble. What? Was the word “hell” in the title too offensive for delicate American audiences? In any case, the 2005 adaptation of the long-running Vertigo comic book kept nothing from its source material save for a few names and bits and pieces of plot cobbled together from several Hellblazer story lines.
What was the movie’s greatest piece of blasphemy? As any comic book fan knows, there’s rarely been a more British comic than Hellblazer. The very fabric of what it means to live in London, to suffer under British politics and attitudes, and to be an Englishman is woven into the series’ very core, which probably explains whyFrancis Lawrence thought it was a good idea to turn the comic’s blond, profane confidence man into Keanu Reeves. Oh wait, no it doesn’t!
Displaying a severe lack of understanding of the character’s basic precepts, the movie cast Reeves as a demon-hunting exorcist, as opposed to a wily trickster who occasionally uses his supernatural powers to get ahead in the world. The comic book John Constantine is no good in a physical confrontation, uses words as weapons and prefers to bluff or cheat his way out of tricky situations so, of course, the movie equips him with a bad-ass crucifix shotgun and a special effects department as he mows down demon after demon with witty one liners.
Outlook For The Future: Do-Over?
Since nobody seems to be clamoring for a sequel to a semi-forgotten 2005 Keanu Reeves movie, the Hellblazer franchise could easily be rebooted. First off, call it freaking Hellblazer! I think the delicate sensibilities of 2012 audiences can handle the trauma of seeing the word “Hell” on a movie poster. OK, so Mitt Romney might pop a blood vessel but, really, isn’t that a good thing? Second, cast a British actor to play the British occultist. Paul Bettany would be perfect. He has the look, the accent and the charm to pull it off.
As for Daredevil. Well… soon the world will know the truth. That this is a city born of heroes. That one man can make a difference.