Constantine Fighting Demons Mythologically

Constantine Fighting Demons Mythologically January 22, 2024

I wrote this movie critique years ago when I was in Grad school at Franciscan university for the student newspaper. When I originally submitted it, the review was tampered with and my funny Ha Ha Bits were left out. I was told my writing was not good enough to be published in the student newspaper. I was told by others that the Student Paper was not fit to be published at all. They would have paid me for writing it, but because it was one lousy (in their opinion) review, I didn’t take the $. I was tempted to sick a legion of hungry vampires on the editors but choose the Christian practice of forgiveness and offering it up instead. Plus it was an occasion where I could be humble. Here comes that review from yesteryear for a new generation of readers to read. May it guide your movie choices.

WHOA! I CAN SEE DEMONS

Whether it is a new school year, a holiday, or some other long absence apart, when you finally do get together with a family member or friend you haven’t seen in ages it gives you an excuse to go out or stay in  to watch a good movie, whether on the big screen or on the small one. I started out my college writing carrier with a film you may or may not have caught on the big screen known as Constantine.

Constantine is neither a movie I would say “put it on your list of movies you must see”, nor is it a movie I would say, “put on your list of movies you must avoid.” It was amusing and kept me entertained to say the least.

The movie is driven by ideas and moods as opposed to a really intriguing plot kind of like the Fast and Furious franchise. The Characterization is neither here nor there. There is growth to some degree in the characters as they come to realize certain truths about the world around them and change there outlooks on life accordingly. Also you are either a Keanu Reeves fan or your not. People don’t go to a Keanu movie because they expect a star stuttered performance that will move them to tears. They go to see Keanu on screen, as if they are seeing a old friend they want to hang out with. Sometimes he shoots a lot of bad guys in interesting ways. But back to the plot that played out in the film.

The plot is as good as a very low b horror flick , but tailored to fit an A class action movie. All the sound doctrinal theology is centered around Constantine and his mission to kick half-demon’s butts. Yes Half-demon, like the demigods in Percy Jackson. Just one of the many incorrect theological aspects of the film. Any theology that is off the beaten track of truth is made once again to serve the overall action of the film and not as a missionary effort to convince someone that this is actually true and you should believe it.  That is not necessarily bad in a picture, provided it serve the bigger purpose of portraying an overall truth that is beneficial to all who watch it. There are some bothersome theological errors and there are some “for the sake of the Plot” theological errors.

You can certainly come away from Constantine with some thought provoking ideas. Such as that Hell does exist and that going there for all eternity is not a good thing. The devil is real and he is out to get you. Mortal sin is real. Constantine thinks that he can rack up enough points with God by killing the bad guys and sending them back to where they came from. It is hinted at and said very clearly that this is not the way to go about it. Perhaps the biggest lesson learned from Constantine is that smoking is a very very bad thing. A friend told me that a friend of his gave up smoking on account of watching this movie.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:21-23 (New American Standard Bible)

Only repentance and self sacrifice are the keys to salvation according to “Constantine”. That is true, but ONLY when done in true Charity. And that Charity is only alive and real when connected to the Cross of Christ and the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our salvation. Constantine can never save the world, it’s already be saved by Jesus Christ. All he has to do is humble himself and accept that salvation. Then the good works he does will actually mean something.

It is possible to come out of Constantine with some good ideas that you can discuss among your friends. But of course is good to remember that Constantine is an action flick with some theological musings to give the plot a reason to live. It sort of underplays spiritual warfare by leaving out angels and showing only demons. It underplays it by suggesting that anyone through material means alone can conquer demons. Who needs angels when you have Constantine.

Real Demons would chew up and spit out Constantine. For a more accurate biblical worldview concerning spiritual warfare, read the book “This Present Darkness” and the sequel “Piercing the Darkness”. Better story, better characters, better plot, more suspense, Better Biblical worldview. It’s too bad these classic Christian novels by Frank Peretti have not been made into a feature film. These books would have made a better more worthwhile movie then Constantine ever could hope to be. I believe that the Exorcist is closer to what real spiritual warfare is all about.

Not sure what to rate this movie. Perhaps a B-. But…… C? Probably somewhere around there. It’s not so bad that it’s painful to watch and it was amusing to sit through. Once again you can get some good things out of it. And it’s also goofy enough that you can make fun of it afterwards. And those of you who smoke may find that inspiration that you need to quit.

 For a good Catholic view on how to view demons check out…


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