Movie Review: ‘We Can Be Heroes’

The film is rated TV-PG for some mild cartoonish violence, but it is clearly appropriate for children aged 6 and up to see.

We Can Be Heroes is a 2020 American superhero film written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. The movie ‘We Can Be Heroes’ was released on Netflix on December 25, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Robert Rodriguez established his own style in strip-cartoon type graphics, gaudy color schemes, and affordable digital effects for his children’s films a long time ago, most notably with the actually delightful and now almost 20-year-old gem Spy Kids, starring Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino.

We Can Be Heroes is a sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s completely disposable 2005 kids’ movie The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, which felt like he slapped together in his edit suite in a month. This sequel is not quite as irritating, but it still has the same tendency to conflate hyperactivity with vitality.

Taylor Dooley reprises her role as Lavagirl, however the original Sharkboy, Taylor Lautner, was reportedly unavailable for this film, thus his persona is now hidden behind a mask. In any case, these characters are just cameos. It’s all about the new tween age now, the quirky, moody kids of superheroes, especially Missy Moreno. YaYa Gosselin beautifully portrayed the character of Missy Moreno, the daughter of Marcus Moreno (The Mandolarian’s Pedro Pascal who also appears as a supervillain in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984). Missy is played superbly by YaYa Gosselin, who, like her father and late mother, had exceptional leadership abilities. To carry off roles in a self-aware superhero film like this, almost all of the child performers in this film have action skills and superb comedic timing. Also, keep in mind that they’re shooting on a green-screened set for a large portion of the movie, which can’t be simple. She and a group of Gen Z peers are cooped up in a creche-style school classroom in the grownup superheroes’ HQ, overseen by the strict Ms. Granada, until they realize they must defend the planet from an extraterrestrial invasion. Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra played the character of Ms. Granda, a twisted character.

The film is rated TV-PG for some mild cartoonish violence, but it is clearly appropriate for children aged 6 and up to see.

Basic information about ‘We Can Be Heroes’
Distributor: Netflix
Production company: Double B
Cast: YaYa Gosselin, Pedro Pascal, Priyanka Chopra Jones, Christian Slater, Boyd Holbrook, Christopher McDonald, Adriana Barraza, Vivien Blair, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Akira Akbar, Lyon Daniels, Nathan Blair, Lotus Blossom, Hala Finley, Andy Walken, Dylan Henry Lau, Andrew Diaz, Taylor Dooley, Sung Kang, Haley Reinhart, J. Quinton Johnson, Brittany Perry-Russell, Brently Heilbron, JJ Dashnaw
Director-screenwriter: Robert Rodriguez
Producers: Racer Max, Robert Rodriguez
Executive producer: Ben Ormand
Director of photography: Robert Rodriguez
Production designers: Steve Joyner, Caylah Eddleblute
Costume designer: Nina Proctor
Music: Rebel Rodriguez
Editor: Robert Rodriguez
Casting: Mary Vernieu, Michelle Wade Byrd
Rated PG; 100 minutes
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