The latest film from Robert Rodriguez has officially arrived on Netflix, and this Christmas Day release is a fun and heartwarming film that’s perfect to queue up for family movie night!
We Can Be Heroes follows the story of a team of superheroes, the Heroics, who are abducted by aliens. Their children are ushered to a government facility for their own safety, but the kids soon realize that they have to learn how to work together as a team in order to use their own individual superpowers to help save their parents (and the world).
Warning: Spoilers for We Can Be Heroes to follow!
The epic stories that paint the Marvel and DC cinematic universes have, for many years, captivated audiences both young and old with their larger-than-life superheroes. But sometimes, kids also need a chance to see heroes their own age. And for those young heroes to be tasked with saving the day on their own when the adults can’t. Even better. We Can Be Heroes is a superhero movie for kids, and threaded within it are inspiring and motivational messages for the whole family.
At the forefront of our young superheroes is Missy Moreno, who is portrayed by YaYa Gosselin. Missy is the daughter of Pedro Pascal’s Marcus Moreno. When your father is the leader of the famous Heroics, you certainly have large shoes to fill, but Missy has a small problem in that area — she has no superpowers. One would think that perhaps this would lead to a big reveal in the final act of the film where Missy taps into some ultimate hidden ability, but that’s not what happens. Instead, both Missy and those around her recognize that her power lies in her innate leadership skills, which she proudly embraces once she gains her footing.
As for the rest of the kids, they may all already be outfitted with their own special powers, but they each have a little growing up to do along the way. Like two siblings that learn they’re much more powerful when they’re not fighting, and a boy with an inconceivable amount of powers (which he cannot control) that realizes how much he’s capable of once he properly puts his mind to it.
The children are the true stars of We Can Be Heroes, but the adult cast is pretty great, too. Pascal nails the proud and dedicated father role, and he has an excellent rapport with Gosselin in their scenes together. Meanwhile, Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ suspiciously menacing Ms. Granada packs an elegant bite. Though fans were disappointed to learn that Taylor Lautner would not be reprising his 2005 role as Sharkboy, Taylor Dooley’s return as Lavagirl was a wonderfully nostalgic addition to the team.
There are several lessons and takeaways in We Can Be Heroes, which kids and adults alike can all take a page from. One of the most important is a reminder that we all have something special to bring to the table, and not to doubt the impact of those contributions. Missy has not have had the ability to rewind time or teleport, but her skills as a leader proved to be invaluable. For kids especially, this should serve as a message that your accomplishments and worth need not be measured against those of your peers. Everyone has limitless potential inside of them. You just need to learn how to embrace your capabilities and learn how to best utilize them.
We Can Be Heroes is also an excellent example of what can be accomplished with teamwork. The children of the Heroics found success time and time again throughout the film when they were able to put aside their differences and recognized the value of working together in harmony. Even the Heroics themselves learned a thing or two by watching their children succeed in their mission.
There’s another cheeky message at the end of the film when it’s revealed that in the aliens’ society, the children are in charge. It may seem like a far-fetched statement at face value, but the resounding message is far deeper and more impactful — the future of our world depends on the children that are currently in it. Sure, our version of Earth may not have a team of 11-year-olds suiting up spar with alien invaders. But those who are children now will someday grow up to be the political leaders, the scientists, the doctors, the activists, the heroes, and every single other individual that will ultimately make a difference and change the world.