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You're going to die young because you smoked thirty cigarettes a day since you were fifteen... and you're going to go to hell because of the life you took. You're fucked.
~ Gabriel explaining the situation to John

Gabriel is the main antagonist of 2005 American-German occult detective action film Constantine. Unlike his depiction in the Hellblazer comic series on which the film is based, the film's version of Gabriel is not a true angel: at present, an ongoing wager between God and Satan has barred pure angels and pure demons from Earth. This version is a half-breed - a human who was rewarded for virtuousness in life by being empowered with angelic abilities. However, Gabriel's self-righteousness is consistent with his comic book portrayal, as is his disgust for humanity.

He was portrayed by Tilda Swinton, who also played Jadis the White Witch, Karen Crowder, Minister MasonLucy, and Nancy MirandoMadame Blanc and Helena Markos.

History

Gabriel first appears in the film when freelance exorcist John Constantine visits him at a Theological Society. Having attempted suicide as teenager after being driven to the brink of madness by his psychic visions, Constantine is damned to Hell for his actions, and has spent the last few decades of his life attempting to buy his way into Heaven by keeping half-breed demons from wreaking havoc on Earth. However, Constantine has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, and knows it won't be long before he faces his final judgement, so he approaches Gabriel in an attempt to earn a reprieve. Unfortunately, the angel refuses to help on the grounds that Constantine's good deeds over the years have all been motivated by selfish fear, and can never earn him entry to Heaven.

Despite his despair, Constantine soon finds himself embroiled in an ongoing suicide investigation on behalf of Detective Angela Dodson: her identical twin Isabel - a long-term psychiatric patient at Ravenscar hospital - has just committed suicide, and Angela believes she was murdered. Though this belief turns out to be unfounded, as Isabel's soul has been damned to Hell for suicide, it's revealed that she only did so in order to avoid being possessed. Constantine's friends Hennessy and Beeman eventually learn that the attempted possessor is none other than Lucifer's son, Mammon, who is planning to claim Earth as his own kingdom - but to do so, Mammon requires a powerful psychic and assistance from God. Isabel was one such psychic, and Angela possesses similar abilities, though she has repressed them in order to avoid being institutionalized.

Soon after, both Hennessy and Beeman are murdered by Balthazar, a half-breed demon; with Angela's help, Constantine tracks Balthazar down and interrogates him at length, and he eventually confesses that Mammon has obtained the Spear of Destiny, which can be used as the assistance from God. However, shortly after they leave, the mortally-wounded Balthazar is seen communicating with an unseen figure, claiming to have arranged everything so that Angela can take her sister's place, offering to continue the mission if the figure will heal him of the wounds Constantine inflicted. Instead, the figure decides Balthazar has outlived his usefulness, and disintegrates him instantly.

Shortly afterwards, Angela is abducted by an invisible entity and brought to Ravenscar - where she is roughly deposited in the hydrotherapy pool where Isabel's body was found and left to wait for Mammon.With assistance from his driver and apprentice Chas, Constantine is able to get to the hospital and kill most of the demons guarding the hydrotherapy room; however, Angela has already been possessed, and when the two exorcists attempt to force Mammon out of her body, Chas is beaten to death by the same invisible entity who killed Balthazar and kidnapped Angela.

Using mystic sigils tattooed on his arms, Constantine forces the entity to reveal itself - only to find that it's none other than Gabriel. Having despaired at the quality of human being admitted into Heaven through God’s favoritism, he believes that humanity only reaches its true potential in the depths of unimaginable torment, and that bringing Hell to Earth will enable any survivors to become worthy of God’s love through suffering, repentance and faith. Gabriel flings Constantine from the room, and with nobody able to stop him, moves to physically release Mammon from Angela's body with the Spear.

However, Constantine has one last option left to him: knowing that he's the one soul that Satan himself would collect in person, he slits his wrists with a piece of broken glass. As Lucifer wants to savor this moment, time stops just as Gabriel moves to stab Angela with the Spear, allowing Constantine and Lucifer to discuss the situation.

Upon discovering Mammon's plan to usurp him, Lucifer bursts into the hydrotherapy room, drags Angela out of Gabriel's arms, and then restarts time. In a panic, Gabriel attempts to smite the Devil "in His honor," but God has taken away the angel's power as punishment for his betrayal allowing Lucifer to incinerate Gabriel's wings and send him tumbling into the pool, before promptly sending Mammon back to Hell. Meanwhile, Constantine asks one last favor of Lucifer in exchange for informing him of the incoming coup: Isabel is to be allowed into Heaven. After fulfilling this wish, Lucifer attempts to take Constantine's soul to Hell, only to discover that his sacrifices have made the exorcist worthy of Heaven; enraged, Lucifer removes Constantine's cancer and resurrects him, claiming that keeping Constantine on Earth will ensure that he will eventually prove he belongs in Hell.

Having been reduced to an ordinary human being, Gabriel tries to encourage Constantine to kill him, even going so far as to put his shotgun back in his hands and insisting that he pull the trigger. Recognizing an attempt to make him sin all over again, Constantine just smacks him across the face with the butt of the gun, giving the fallen angel his first taste of serious pain. Angela and Constantine then leave the hospital, ignoring Gabriel as he shouts after them.

In a post-credits scene it is revealed that Chas took Gabriel's place as the Angel of Revelation.

Gallery

Trivia

  • In the Hellblazer comics, Gabriel meets a similar fate to his film counterpart, though arguably far more sadistic in nature: Constantine actually cons the Archangel into having sex with a succubus, causing him to fall from grace and lose his angelic powers; for good measure, Constantine goes so far as to chainsaw off the remaining shreds of Gabriel's wings, before banishing him to the streets of London to live out his days as a homeless man.