Review: ‘We Can Be Heroes’ Holiday Superheroes
By Justina Bonilla
Robert Rodriguez’s superhero, adventure film We Can Be Heroes premieres on Netflix on Christmas day. It is a sweet, feel-good family film starring some of Hollywood’s top talent.
Texan native, Rodriguez’s directorial debut film El Mariachi earned the distinction of being the lowest-budget movie to make $1 million at the US box office and launched his career in 1993. His cutting-edge visual style seen in his horror (From Dusk till Dawn) and action (Sin City) films, has made Rodriquez one of the most famous, influential, and beloved directors in contemporary American cinema. For We Can Be Heroes Rodriguez, once again takes on multiple roles including director, writer, producer, editor, and director of photography.
We Can Be Heroes is the stand-alone sequel to Rodriguez’s 2005 film The Adventures of Lavagirl and Sharkboy – 3Dwhich follows a young boy named Max as he’s recruited by two imaginary superhero friends, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, to save their home planet, Planet Drool.
In We Can Be Heroes, Sharkboy and Lavagirl are now adults in the real world. They’re a part of a team of elite Earth superheroes called The Heroics led by Marcus Moreno (Pedro Pascual). When the earth is threatened by a massive alien invasion, The Heroics have their super children sent to safety, under the care of the strict government babysitter, Ms. Granada (Priyanka Chopra Jonas).
However, when The Heroics are kidnaped by the aliens, the superkids, led by Moreno’s daughter Missy (YaYa Gosselin,) escape from Ms. Granada. Together they go on an adventure learning to use their strengths and unique powers, as a team to save both their parents and the world.
Throughout the film, there is an emphasis on the importance of teamwork among the diverse group of people, including gender, race, and physical ability. Every superkid, despite what limitations others put on them, is able to use their individual power to excel both in the group and individually. This is especially evident in Missy who must overcome her own insecurities and believe in herself, in order to effectively learn to lead.
Intent on making We Can Be Heroes as true an authentic family film, Rodriguez collaborated with four of his five children, Racer Max, Rebel, Rogue, and Rhiannon. For instance, Racer Max who initially created the characters of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, was also a co-producer on We Can Be Heroes. While Rebel wrote the film’s score. The film’s music references rock icon David Bowie’s hit song Heroes, which can be heard throughout the film. The phrase, “We can be heroes”, is one of the most recognizable lyrics of the song.
Rodriguez shared how he wanted We Can Be Heroes to be a children’s version of The Avengers. Expressing how, “The genre is a great way to present a mythology, but grounded in family values and messages for children,” he said and added “If kids are going to watch a film over and over, you want to give them something that teaches them about family, working together, inspiring others, and using all of their personal power to change the world for the better”.
In these turbulent times when adults don’t seem to have all of the answers and with so much infighting among them, children are left to feel unsure about their futures. We Can Be Heroes gives children positive encouragement. It gives hope that with each new generation comes the opportunity to rebuild and go further than the generation before them.
We Can Be Heroes premiers on Friday, December 25, 2020.