Sharkboy and Lavagirl was one of the VERY FIRST movies I’ve ever watched in my life ever; it helped emerge me into the world of filmmaking, thanks to Robert Rodriguez’ quite imaginative direction and narrative. The last thing I expected was for this long-forgotten piece of my childhood to be given a follow-up. Netflix gave me exactly that with “We Can Be Heroes”, a quasi-follow-up to the 2005 film which is also set in the same universe as Spy Kids.
Needless to say....I had SOME fun with this one. It’s basically the same movie with only HALF the cringe, not that that’s saying much. They, at least, had some convincing acting from all fronts and the new characters were both easy on the eyes and ears to understand, at least, it packs a curious color palette and futuristic aesthetic that speaks more about his prolific vision, CGI looks more polished despite keeping its predecessors flaky and uneven 3D-ish textures, Rodriguez takes fun digs at comic-book movie tropes (more specifically, around the genre’s penchant for holding brawls in overpopulated cities or the fiddly nature of superhero costumes) and the films storyline is more akin to that of the early Spy Kids films: gaudy, good-natured and inclusive. Not to mention there was one moment that actually caught me off guard near the end that leads into what the teams victory represents rather than what it looks like at face value.
Unfortunately....that’s about all the good I can say. Only about four of the new characters have personalities beyond their abilities, dialogue and presentation are really generic and formulaic, direction is nothing really special, pacing is frenetic and fast but feels more tiresome after a while, and despite taking jabs at the superhero genre (and not going too far beyond that), the entire takeaway is thin and forgettable.....and predictable. I get it, it’s 2021 but you can maybe try and go a LITTLE beyond the basic fundamentals of what we ended up getting. This film isn’t for a mature audience in the slightest but for any nostalgia trips, I can’t really say you’ll see much of that either.
It’s harmless as is and it’s heart is in the right place but nothing else comes out of it. Do with that as you will.