We Can Be Heroes, review: Robert Rodriguez piles on the green-screen for a witless childcare aid

Dir: Robert Rodriguez; Cast: Pedro Pascal, Priyanka Chopra, Boyd Holbrook, Christian Slater, YaYa Gosselin, Sung Kang, Andy Walken, Adriana Barraza, Christopher McDonald, Lyon Daniels, Taylor Dooley, Vivien Lyra Blair, Nathan Blair. 100 mins

Robert Rodriguez has now made nearly as many films for kids as he has violent homages to his favourite B-movie genres. His personality as a filmmaker is a bit like a slasher killer’s bloodied disguise which inverts to become a goofy clown mask.

The fun never stops in the Rodriguez cinematic universe – in theory – but it hits lots of ceilings in We Can Be Heroes, a belated sequel/spin-off to his effects-heavy 2005 romp The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. That (barely remembered) film was a box-office flop, heavily criticised for its lousy use of 3D. Some grumpy critic in the Telegraph called it “migraine-inducing” and “mainly just irksome”.

Thankfully, no ill-fitting specs are needed for this new one, which Netflix have been content to fund and release as an easy post-Christmas viewing option, filling a gap before adults wrest back the remote to put Bridgerton on. As a bouncy childcare aid, it doesn’t exactly fail, but you might be better off asking an eight-year-old about that. It’s witless fare if you want the whole family entertained.

The premise lamely pokes fun at “grown up” superhero overload, by kidnapping a complete cadre of Avengers-y lycra-clad good guys and imprisoning them on an alien mothership. It’s left to their kids, who have inherited a range of campy, wayward and in come cases barely understood superpowers, to come to the rescue. 

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