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    Constantine, Ep. 1.11 to 1.13 develops cast, but has plot hiccups

    Even though it is riddled with plot inconsistencies and even some slasher film/supernatural show cliches, Constantine starts to find itself as a show in its final three episodes as it embraces being a mythology lite, episodic show with a few season finale reveals and plot threads that could expand its universe and heighten the threat level of the Rising Darkness from being a silly name that occasionally, almost does something bad every other episode. But its biggest strength going forward is its small, morally ambiguous ensemble cast that really benefited from showcase episodes like “Quid Pro Quo” (for Chas) and “Angels and Ministers of Grace (for Zed and Manny) down the stretch. If it continues (either on NBC or as SyFy’s Hellblazer), Constantine has a solid foundation with these characters and actors along with sense of atmosphere and setting in most episodes. More

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    Constantine, Ep. 1.09, “The Saint of Last Resorts Part 2”: A fast-paced series of hits and misses

    Beginning directly after the gut-wrenching ending of the midseason finale, ” The Saint of Last Resorts Part 2″ takes one of the series’ biggest risks yet, by having John Constantine (Matt Ryan) literally bond with a demon to save his life after his old lover Anne-Marie (Claire van der Bloom) shot him because she wasn’t willing to have him sacrifice another innocent to save his skin. Constantine’s new status quo is riveting as, possessed by the Assyrian hunger demon Pazuzu, John slaughters members of a pretty scary Mexican gang and gets thrown in prison, where Chas (Charles Halford) and Zed (Angelica Celaya) must enter and exorcise the demon, or kill him if all else fails. There is also the “Rising Darkness”, but over the course of the season, this have become laughable, even if a big name is thrown in this episode. This inconsistency also extends to the characters of Manny (Harold Perrineau) and Anne-Marie, as writer Mark Verheiden possibly uses the former as an example of Heaven’s impotence in the coming struggle (Constantine’s theology and cosmology is becoming sketchier by the episode) and the latter where the plot dictates. There is also a slight dip in the special effects after the heights of the fallen angel a few episodes back. More

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    Constantine, Ep. 1.08, “The Saint of Last Resorts” is a dark, atmospheric midseason finale

    “The Saint of Last Resorts” breaks the mold of a lot of previous Constantine episodes, which partially set up the character of John Constantine (Matt Ryan) as some kind of cynical, occult superhero instead of the hell-bound bastard and con-man from the Hellblazer comics. Instead of having Constantine initiate the case of the week with Zed’s (Angelica Celaya) scrying, this time he gets a call from his magic tutor, old flame, and member of the Newcastle crew Anne-Marie (Claire van der Boom), who has seen a baby snatched by a supernatural force. Because this is personal, John leaves Zed on her own at the House of Mystery, giving her first solo plotline to show how she has grown as a character, along with revealing a new threat other than the vague Rising Darkness. Director T.J. Scott uses the convent, landscapes, and graveyards of Mexico City to give “The Saint of Last Resorts” a real sense of atmosphere and writer Carly Wray mines world mythology and the Hellblazer to craft a primal horror plot as well as cementing once and for all that Constantine is vulnerable, charming, and occasionally funny, but not a hero. More

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    Constantine, Ep. 1.04: “Feast of Friends” is Full of Scares, Moral Ambiguity

    In an incredibly faithful adaptation of Hellblazer #1, “Feast of Friends” brings all the disparate elements that have been floating around the first three episodes and fits them together in a coherent whole. John D. Showalter gets to work with a lot of grotesque visuals having to do with this episode’s Big Bad, Mnemoth the Hunger Demon ranging from body horror, creepy bugs scurrying everywhere, and even a drug trip. He doesn’t flinch from showing the disgusting nature of this demon and even zooms out to show the extent of its destruction. Aside from the technical aspects, Matt Ryan continues to play John Constantine as the consummate con-man, who isn’t afraid to piss off angels or use the people around him, but feels bad about it at the end of the day. Irish actor Jonjo O’Neill puts in a nice guest spot as Constantine’s old friend Gary Lester, who was at Newcastle with him and is now a heroin junkie. Gary is Constantine without the charisma or magical ability, and he sheds light on Constantine’s amorality and penchant for getting people around him killed. “Feast of Friends” takes John Constantine to some very dark places, and this is where the show can thrive. More

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    Constantine, Ep. 1.03: “The Devil’s Vinyl” Builds the Series’ Mythology

    The character of John Constantine is rooted in music as much as he is in magic or being a con artist. Before he was master of the dark arts, he was the frontman for Liverpool punk outfit Mucous Membrane. (Which gets a much needed shout out in this episode.) Even before he was fully fledged and named character, he was a guy in the background of Swamp Thing #25, who artist Stephen Bissette wanted to look like Sting. But enough of the origin story stuff. “The Devil’s Vinyl” is the strongest episode of Constantine to date as David Goyer and Mark Verheiden construct a plot filled with the trickery, double crosses, soul bartering, and exorcisms that were the Hellblazer comic’s stock and trade, especially during Garth Ennis’ run. The threat level is also upped thorough developing the show’s mythology by including voodoo priest and crime kingpin Papa Midnite (played with presence and a spot-on accent by Michael James Shaw) and hinting at a character that will make Hellblazer fans shake in their boots. With this threat escalation, Goyer and Verheiden start to dig beneath the surface of John Constantine (Matt Ryan), Zed (Angelica Celaya), and Chas (Charles Halford) while giving them active and pivotal roles in the plot. More

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    Constantine, Ep. 1.02: “The Darkness Beneath” brings Zed into the fray

    With all the exposition and origin story trappings out of the way in last week’s pilot, “The Darkness Beneath” show readers what exactly John Constantine (Matt Ryan) does, other than con people, go to pubs, and chat with Chas (Charles Halford). This could be a typical case of the week type of episode, but writer Rockne S. O’Bannon manages to connect the monster to John’s past life, as well as some of the socioeconomic critiques that characterized early Hellblazer issues. He also introduces a new, improved female lead in Zed Martin (Angelica Celaya), who has an almost sultry chemistry with Constantine, and shows she can handle herself in a fight with the supernatural and then some. O’Bannon also doesn’t reveal his entire hand when it comes to her character, and the mysterious nature of her powers and connection to Constantine will be a intriguing mystery to follow throughout the season. “The Darkness Beneath” showcases Constantine as more of a con man than a pure spell caster, as well as someone who uses others to further his ends, even though they are positive in this case. He’s no hero. A few criticisms of this episode are that the citizens of the town exist as ciphers to move the plot, including a skeptical preacher (James Le Gros) who has some substantial screen time, and the director’s focus on pyrotechnics instead of terrifying imagery and chills. More

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    Constantine, Ep. 1.01, “Non Est Asylum”: Exposition-heavy pilot has charismatic lead

    The opening shot of Constantine is quite rich. It’s a medium shot, straight ahead of the Ravenscar Secure Facility. This is the mental asylum that John Constantine (Matt Ryan) turns himself in to when he inadvertently damns the soul of his friend’s daughter, Astra, to Hell in the Hellblazer comic. Immediately, there is a nod to the source material as well as establishing that our protagonist isn’t right in the head or the ethical department, but there’s a tiny chance he could change. “Non Est Asylum” is all about how John Constantine isn’t at home in Heaven or Hell, but somewhere in between (Even though he is currently damned). He, his best friend and driver Chas (a laconic Charles Halford), and friend’s daughter Liv (Lucy Griffiths) are constantly on the move trying to take on the demon Furcifer, who controls electricity and lightning, and wants to damn Liv because her father angered him a while back. Along with this mobile exorcism plot, writers David Goyer and Daniel Cerone build the world of Constantine, where demonic activity and magic are everywhere. They also dig into Constantine’s sordid back-story. Unfortunately, most of this backstory is spilled out through exposition at the most random times, and it seems like the character of Liv only exists to be told stories about his past. However, she won’t be appearing after this episode, and Constantine more than makes up for it with a charismatic performance by Matt Ryan, who has the bearing of the working class mage, and delivers the snarky dialogue that Constantine is famous for in the comics. More

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    DC Comics Characters That Should Have Their Own TV Show

    CW’s Arrow has shown that DC Comics characters can work on the small screen. This season has gotten positive attention from both fans and critics and continues to build its world and introduce more characters and concepts from the comics. As well as Arrow, DC Entertainment has announced that there are Jim Gordon, John Constantine, and Hourman shows […] More

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    Constantine 1 Brings Old Tricks to a New Universe

    Constantine 1 Writers: Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes Artist: Renato Guedes Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rod Reis Publisher: DC Comics After appearing in 300 issues of Vertigo’s Hellblazer and becoming the leader of Justice League Dark, John Constantine makes his solo debut in the New 52. Many of the trademarks of the […] More

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    A week in review: popular posts from Sound On Sight

    There is so much great content published every week here at Sound On Sight, that even we have trouble keeping up. So, every Sunday, we will release a list of some of the most popular articles delivered by our hard working, and extremely talented staff. **** SXSW 2013: ‘Evil Dead’ is a relentless film out […] More

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    Comics You Should Be Reading…Garth Ennis’ Hellblazer

    John Constantine: Hellblazer Written by Garth Ennis Art by William Simpson and Steve Dillon Published by DC Comics, Vertigo Imprint   John Constantine is one of those comic characters a lot of people have written, but relatively few have really gotten right, like Wolverine or Paste Pot Pete. Originally cooked up by our old friend […] More

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