‘We Can Be Heroes’ offers the youngsters of superheroes a shot at saving the world

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Though greatest identified for edgier fare, Rodriguez explored his lighter aspect with “Spy Children” in 2001 and “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” 4 years later. This new film ties immediately into the latter, that includes the youngsters of these heroes in addition to others — with names like Miracle Man — introduced collectively to save lots of the world after their dad and mom get rapidly overwhelmed and captured by alien invaders.

It is a acquainted idea, one which birthed the equally themed “Sky Excessive” the identical 12 months as “Sharkboy,” and supplied the fundamental template for Disney+’s “The Secret Society of Second-Born Royals” earlier this 12 months. The fantasy of kids turning into superheroes stays a sturdy one, which explains why outfits like Disney preserve returning to it.
The dad and mom, notably, characteristic some recognizable faces regardless of the puny nature of their roles (the issues we do for our children), together with Pedro Pascal (pulling double Christmas responsibility in “Surprise Lady 1984”), Christian Slater, Boyd Holbrook and the unique Lavagirl, Taylor Dooley. Priyanka Chopra Jonas additionally drops in because the overseer of The Heroics, principally this universe’s model of the Justice League.

Nonetheless, the main focus is squarely on the youngsters, a modestly interesting group led by outsider Missy (YaYa Gosselin), whose important ability lies in coaxing her friends about the necessity to function as a workforce. That is solely one of many built-in classes, in a “The kids are our future” form of approach.

Not like the aforementioned motion pictures that characteristic high-school-age youngsters, the youngsters are youthful right here, and the film possesses a sensibility reflecting that even in comparison with, say, Disney Channel-type fare.

This was clearly made for youths, not critics, and the design and motion are vibrant sufficient to divert them. Rodriguez — who additionally produced, edited and shot the movie, working along with his personal youngsters in what’s clearly a household affair — is well-versed in superhero tropes for fogeys who can respect comic-book satire.

Add it up and “We Can Be Heroes” serves as a really minor addition to Netflix’s kids-and-family tier, for fogeys in search of one thing new to maintain their tykes occupied. As an apart, the film underscores the present state of streaming, the place no title with a shred of fairness in it — even one as bizarre as “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” — is ever formally out of the working to make a comeback.

“We Can Be Heroes” premieres Dec. 25 on Netflix.

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