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We Can Be Heroes is an American superhero film written, directed, and produced by Robert Rodriguez. Though it features the characters SharkBoy and LavaGirl, it is not a sequel to The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl. [2]

It was released on Christmas Day, 2020, on Netflix. On January 4, 2020, Netflix announced that over 44 million families had watched We Can Be Heroes in its first four weeks. They officially ordered a sequel written and directed by Robert Rodriguez.[1]

Synopsis

When alien invaders kidnap Earth's superheroes, their kids are whisked away to a government safe house. But whip-smart tween Missy Moreno will stop at nothing to rescue her superhero dad, Marcus Moreno. Missy teams up with the rest of the super kids to escape their mysterious government babysitter, Ms. Granada. If they're going to save their parents, they'll have to work together by using their individual powers - from elasticity to time control to predicting the future - and form an out-of-this-world team.

Netflix summary

When alien invaders capture Earth’s superheroes, their kids must learn to work together to save their parents — and the planet.

Second Netflix summary

Super strength. Elasticity. Turning back time. Alone, their powers are special. Together, they may be unstoppable.

Plot

Cast

Production

Development

Netflix approached Robert Rodriguez saying his films always did well on their service and that no one else makes the kind of live action family friendly films he makes.[2] Robert Rodriguez wrote, directed, and produced the film through his Troublemaker Studios for Netflix.[8][9][10][11]

Casting

Priyanka Chopra was announced to star in the film[9], along with Christian Slater and Pedro Pascal.[12][13][14]

Filming

Principal photography began in August 2019, shooting in Texas.[12] Visual effects were provided by Weta Digital.[2][15]

Critical response

Audience viewership

Upon its release the film was the most-watched title in its opening weekend, then finished third the following weekend before returning to first in its third weekend.[16][17] It finished second behind new Netflix release Outside the Wire in its fourth weekend.[18] It was revealed that the film have been seen by 53 million of households during the first four weeks.[19]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 74% based on 46 reviews, with an average rating of 6.00/10, while audiences scored at 41% based on over 500 ratings, with an average rating of 2.8/5. The site's consensus reads, "Although it may be too zany for adults, We Can Be Heroes balances its sophisticated themes with heart and zealous originality."[20] According to Metacritic, which compiled eight reviews and calculated an average score of 53 out of 100, the film received "mixed or average reviews".[21]

David Ehrlich of IndieWire called it a "zany, imaginative, and extremely kid-oriented Avengers riff that combines major stars with Snapchat-level special effects in order to lend a live-action Saturday morning cartoon vibe to a story about seizing your own destiny, We Can Be Heroes is the ultimate Troublemaker movie."[22]

Sequel

In January 2021, Netflix announced they are planning to develop a sequel.[1]

Trivia

  • At first, We Can Be Heroes wasn't planned to be linked to The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl. Robert Rodriguez added "In the original script, they weren’t in there because I wanted to deliver an original story and then once that was done, I said 'I would love to try and borrow from the other studio, the characters of SharkBoy and LavaGirl' and so I put them on the adult team [thinking] that will help legitimize the adult team."[23]
    • Rodriguez even toyed with the idea of putting his characters Carmen and Juni Cortez from his Spy Kids franchise in We Can Be Heroes, but thought that "really would be trying to force another set of parents in there", and eventually narrowed down to SharkBoy and LavaGirl because they were his original superheroes.[24]
  • Rodriguez wanted to bring back SharkBoy and LavaGirl for years, and looked to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly their version of Spider-Man, for inspiration.[25][26]
  • The reason why Rodriguez didn’t bring Lautner back was because he told him and Dooley it would be a small role and they wouldn’t talk much. Rodriguez said "It was never meant as a sequel to that movie. This was always an original film for Netflix. So I asked Taylor Dooley if she could be a lead. It wasn’t about them, so there wasn’t a lot of dialogue. There’s a little bit with her and her connection with the daughter, and she was up for coming back, coloring her hair. But I did call Taylor [Lautner] to let him know, 'There’s no dialogue. It’s not about the parents. It’s not really a sequel — you’d have your face covered the whole time.' I wanted him to kind of look like Batman. There wasn’t a big enough role for him to do. It wasn’t about those characters. It was fine if he couldn’t be in it, because it would draw more attention to it. He became such a big star after Twilight that he would have an expectation. Could you imagine if he was in it, and then they see it and they’re like, 'Wait! His face is covered the whole time! Hey, he didn’t have any dialogue!' It’d certainly look like a demerit against him, and I wouldn’t want that. It wasn’t about him, it was just to use the characters more than the actors. Maybe if this is really successful and there’s a bigger play later, it’d be more worth his time. But the way it was, it was not a big role at all."[6]
  • While writing the script for We Can Be Heroes, Rodriguez found himself revisiting the notes and journals he kept while doing Spy Kids and The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl, as tapping back into some of those sources of inspiration was crucial for creating "something that just feels like those films, but it's still new and fresh for today".[27]
  • The tentacles of the Aliens needed to be gross and slimy, but not to the point where it's scary to young children.[15]
  • Spy Kids and The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl were based on Rodriguez's experience growing up in a family of 10 children, while We Can Be Heroes was more based on his experience as a father raising his children.[27]
  • Many of the characteristics seen in the film's female characters are inspired by Rodriguez's daughter, Rihannon Rodriguez: Ojo’s love of drawing on an iPad (all of the pictures we see on Ojo’s iPad were drawn by Rhiannon on set as the scenes were being shot); A Capella’s incredible singing ability; Missy Moreno’s tough-guy handshake. In fact, the character of Missy Moreno was inspired by Rhiannon altogether: “Missy” has been Rhiannon’s nickname since she was two-years-old. Even her initials, “MM,” were meant to mirror Rhiannon’s.[3] Rodriguez said "It really was a way to capture their childhood, the fun we had and the parenting and the sort of mentorship and partnering with your children that takes place — and how they become better than us. That's really the story of the movie. I love showing mentorship in the film because as a mentor, you always end up learning more from the people you're trying to mentor than they learn from you, so it goes both ways."[27]
  • The film's original script had more than 11 superhero kids. Some of the powers ended up getting consolidated while others were cut. Among the powers that don’t appear in the film: toxic farts; a huge, Hulk-like arm (that isn’t as strong as the other regular-sized arm!); and the ability to know it all.[3]
  • All the child actors had to learn to do their own stunts, as there is no such thing as a "stunt kid" in Hollywood.
    • Lotus Blossom took singing lessons in preparation for her role and became a talented singer in her own right. But the higher notes were blended with Haley Reinhart’s (who plays A Capella’s mother, Ms. Vox) to give her voice an extra-otherworldly effect.[3]
    • In addition to Lotus Blossom, Andrew Diaz, who plays Facemaker, also had martial arts training; Isaiah Russell-Bailey, who plays Rewind, is great at parkour; and Vivien Blair was shockingly good at throwing people 3x her size. All of their natural abilities were woven into the film.[3]
    • Vivien Blair watched The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl three times in preparation for the role. She went to a Tae Kwon Do school, and was training since she was five.[28]
  • Rodriguez hopes to explore more of We Can Be Heroes after its success. He stated "I came up with a bunch of ideas for future movies, but we have to see how this one does, obviously. I would love to (make more), because we've already got a template for more. I think it'll do well, but until it happens, you really can't say, and then no one can invest money in something until they know they know it's working. So we’ll see. Hopefully everybody sees it and we can make more. I'd love to make more. They're so fun.[29]
  • Missy Moreno’s lack of a superpower was intentional from the start. “I wanted to make the main character who makes the biggest difference the one who didn't have powers. Having her be able to inspire greatness out of others and have them use their talents better was a message I wanted to send about the importance of everybody. No matter where you're from, you can make a difference,” says Rodriguez.[3]
  • As the youngest kid on set, Vivien Blair — who plays Sharkboy and Lavagirl’s daughter, Guppy — didn’t have a smartphone to play videogames with the other kids while she wasn’t shooting. To keep her entertained, Robert Rodriguez would play her favorite card games like Go Fish and Avocado Smash! with her. The games ended up playing a huge role in getting the right reactions from Vivien when there wasn’t anything in front of her to react to: "I need you more excited, so imagine it's Avocado Smash!" Rodriguez would say...and he’d get the reaction he wanted.[3]
  • Pedro Pascal’s black t-shirt and jeans is a nod to Robert Rodriguez’s signature look. So are his character Marcus Moreno’s absentminded egg cracking skills in an early scene in the film.[3]
  • Robert and Rhiannon Rodriguez drew the squiggle monsters that Ojo brings to life during the film’s final scene. “The idea was that a child created these monsters and they don’t just show up out of nowhere, but that they came from her pen, and the pen is always mightier than the sword,” he says.[3]
  • Vivien Blair was given a pair of sunglasses when she couldn’t help but squint in the sunlight during an outdoor scene. The look was so cool they became Guppy’s trademark anytime she went into a shark frenzy.[3]
  • Max is absent from the movie, even though he created SharkBoy and LavaGirl in The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl, but like Taylor Lautner, Cayden Boyd wouldn't have been able to return either.

Gallery

Images

Main article: We Can Be Heroes/Gallery

Videos

How to...

We Can Be Filmmakers

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 https://twitter.com/Rodriguez/status/1346220007907160064
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 https://forbes.com/sites/simonthompson/2020/12/23/robert-rodriguez-talks-we-could-be-heroes-more-alita-and-the-appeal-of-pedro-pascal/?sh=395b08c962fb
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 As stated in the WE CAN BE HEROES Press Notes released by Netflix.
  4. https://twitter.com/Rodriguez/status/1329115815656837122
  5. https://twitter.com/weta_digital/status/1344036076323663873
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://decider.com/2020/12/25/we-can-be-heroes-robert-rodriguez-interview/
  7. https://ew.com/movies/remembering-the-adventures-of-sharkboy-and-lavagirl-in-3d/
  8. https://decider.com/2020/07/24/we-can-be-heroes-netflix-sharkboy-lavagirl/
  9. 9.0 9.1 https://deadline.com/2019/08/priyanka-chopra-jonas-netflix-superhero-movie-robert-rodriguez-1202700678/
  10. https://collider.com/robert-rodriguez-netflix-movie-details-sharkboy-lavagirl-we-can-be-heroes/
  11. https://collider.com/we-can-be-heroes-netflix-images-sharkboy-and-lavagirl/
  12. 12.0 12.1 https://deadline.com/2019/08/christian-slater-yaya-gosselin-akira-akbar-join-robert-rodriguezs-we-can-be-heroes-netflix-1202701061/
  13. https://ew.com/movies/first-look-pedro-pascal-priyanka-chopra-we-can-be-heroes/
  14. https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/wire-buzz-we-can-be-heroes-virgin-galactic-cassian-andor
  15. 15.0 15.1 https://twitter.com/weta_digital/status/1349439963843100673
  16. https://www.indiewire.com/2021/01/liam-neeson-the-croods-a-new-age-home-viewing-thrives-1234607416/
  17. https://www.indiewire.com/2021/01/reduced-price-tenet-pvod-debut-fatale-home-viewing-1234608638/
  18. https://www.indiewire.com/2021/01/tenet-pvod-debut-tom-hanks-in-news-of-the-world-1234609995/
  19. https://www.fastcompany.com/90595738/netflix-soars-to-more-than-200-million-subscribers-what-you-need-to-know
  20. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/we_can_be_heroes_2021
  21. https://www.metacritic.com/movie/we-can-be-heroes
  22. https://www.indiewire.com/2020/12/we-can-be-heroes-review-netflix-1234606573/
  23. https://www.radiotimes.com/movies/2020-12-21/sharkboy-lavagirl-we-can-be-heroes/
  24. https://www.radiotimes.com/movies/2020-12-22/spy-kids-we-can-be-heroes/
  25. https://comicbook.com/movies/news/we-can-be-heroes-robert-rodriguez-explains-how-he-got-sharkboy-and-lavagirl-in-movie/
  26. https://movieweb.com/we-can-be-heroes-sharkboy-lavagirl-spider-man-inspired/
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/robert-rodr-guez-s-netflix-movie-we-can-be-heroes-n1251792
  28. https://comicbook.com/movies/news/we-can-be-heroes-vivien-lyra-blair-talks-playing-sharkboy-and-lavagirl-daughter-stunts/
  29. https://www.ladowntownnews.com/arts_and_entertainment/director-robert-rodriguez-hopes-to-inspire-next-generation-with-new-film/article_70f97c92-448c-11eb-a743-2f2304105652.html
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