Never seeing The Adventures of Sharkboy and and Lavagirl in 3-D (2005), I am a clean slate for We Can Be Heroes. Realistically, I’m unclear as to why we need a spin-off of a 19% Rotten Tomato rated and 33% Audience scored original, but this is Netflix. As an action film for the under-13 set, We Can Be Heroes has a great message and will keep them entertained. Teens and young adults will scoff. Finally, as a parody for older folks, the film falls flat. With that in mind, here goes.
Reportedly, the director’s children conceived of much of the concepts and story of the original. Keep that thought as you view We Can Be Heroes. Fifteen years later, maybe he gathered ideas from his grandchildren. In any case, kids will love the silliness of Noodles with the stretchy arms and neck, and Face Maker who can make any face, not to mention Guppy who works herself into a shark frenzy. Not anything too scary, the aliens are octopus-like, able to easily conquer The Heroics, the children’s super-powered parents. It is up to the children to save the world!. I give We Can Be Heroes 3.5 Gavels and it receives a 71% Rotten Tomatoes rating with a 53% Audience score. I assume very few children under 13 gave their opinions.
After defeating Earth’s super-heroes, the Supreme Commander from the planet Ogima gives the President three hours to allow a takeover or the planet will be destroyed. The director of the Heroics facility orders their children brought to the facility for protection. Soon, the kids realize the aliens are after them, as they too, possess super-powers. Missy Moreno convinces all to follow her plan to escape before capture. Yet, she knows that they are not ready to take on the monsters. It’s always good to seek the help of Grandma.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Quantico) and Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian, Wonder Woman 84) are serious actors. As the director and leader of The Heroics, respectively, I wonder how much you pay these folks to take these kinds of roles. Other than a paycheck, nothing will enhance your reputation. You might become a joke on SNL. Worse yet, you are second fiddle to a bunch of no-name kids who have much better parts.
Not concerned that many of you will watch We Can Be Heroes, I’ll give you a small spoiler. The President’s name is Neil Anami, which spelled backwards is, of course, I’m an alien. As I said, it’s written for pre-teens. Still, the theme of teamwork is timeless, and can’t be too often repeated.
CNN.com notes “this was clearly made for kids, not critics, and the design and action are vibrant enough to divert them.” More to the point Cambridge Day prints “totally hokey, with a 1970s Saturday morning vibe; a serviceable entertainment for the wee crowd, but likely a one-off watch.” Another case of quantity, not quality, for Netflix.