What happens when The Avengers is crossed with Spy Kids? The answer is the new Netflix original film, We can be heroes, which was released on Christmas Day this year on the streaming platform.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, making his return to lo-fi children’s films, this superhero flick is designed for kids and obviously not for critics.
We can be heroes is set in a premise where the world is protected by an organisation of superheroes called the Heroics. One of the superheroes, Marcus Moreno (Pedro Pascal), promises his daughter Missy (YaYa Gosselin) that he would stop crime-fighting after his wife’s death. However, he has to make his return one day and join hands with his former teammate to protect the earth from alien invaders.
Missy is sent to the Heroics’ secure classroom with other superheroes’ children to be protected from the invaders. But unlike the other children, Missy does not have a superpower. However, when the children learn that their parents have been kidnapped by aliens, Missy decides to lead the children to rescue their heroes. To accomplish their mission, they must team up and learn to work together.
We can be heroes actually does not have much to offer as a superhero film. Its level of visual wit is sky-high while its seriousness is below sea level. The scene of superheroes fighting the invaders is just a little more than 3D videogame graphics from the 90s, while the plot in most parts does not even make sense.
Yet, as a kids film, We can be heroes offers a fun and cheesy family-friendly watch, which made it a perfect release for Christmas this year. Rodriguez brings back his creative power which he showed in the Spy Kids franchise and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (2005), to which the film is the stand-alone sequel.
While the plot does not always make sense to adults, the story is humorous. The superhero kids trying to control and make use of their powers adds a slapstick element to the film, which is filled with unpredictable twists.
When it comes to the cast, we can tell that all the child actors in the film, apart from Christmas Story Live! star Andy Walken, are still inexperienced and give stiff performances. However, they have done well enough in terms of playing with the director’s creativity.
The best thing about the film is probably the moral values that We can be heroes conveys. Using Missy, a girl without a superpower, as the captain of the young superheroes, is a perfect message for all the girls to break gender and disadvantage barriers. Putting kids with different powers and backgrounds in the same team is another good example, which appears to call for children to discover a way to harness their diversity and self-belief to make the world a better place.
Grumpy adventure fans may lambast We can be heroes, but it is indeed an enjoyable watch for children and families.