Back in 2004, when the first Hellboy came out, I really enjoyed it. Part of what appeals to me about Hellboy is that even though he’s a demon, he’s more like the rest of us than many other superheroes in other films.
This summer, in a the midst of superhero films that try to give us an average-guy hero, Hellboy II: The Golden Army gives us something different. He doesn’t brood like Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk. He’s not as charming as Tony Stark in Iron Man. And he isn’t totally lame like Hancock in Hancock.
Hellboy has got to be one of the most interesting characters out there, even though he’s not even human. Ron Pearlman was the perfect choice from the beginning to play Big Red, and Guillermo Del Toro shows he was perfect to direct the series.
This new movie continues the story of Hellboy at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. His relationship with the fiery Liz (Selma Blair) is on the rocks, and the fishy Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) continues to be his best friend. While on a secret mission, Hellboy blows their cover and lets the world know he’s real.
While Hellboy and the gang are struggling to deal with being celebrities, they find themselves fighting against Prince Nuada (Luke Gross), who wants to overthrow the humans and give the control of Earth to the fantasy creatures.
After making the original film in his distinct style and after winning awards for his film Pan’s Labyrinth, it’s clear that Del Toro has stepped up his game in the creature shop. Some might consider these new creatures overkill, but I found them fascinating. The different monsters that Hellboy faces are unique and visually stunning. Of course, it does appear to be Del Toro is making a director’s reel to prove he can direct The Hobbit.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army doesn’t break a whole lot of new ground, but that’s part of what I enjoyed about it. In many ways, it’s a superhero movie for the Universal Monsters crowd, which gives the film a nice home with the new studio.
The film should play well with the fans because the Hellboy flavor is retained in this movie. After all, he may not be Batman or Spider-Man, but Hellboy is unforgettable. I don’t expect a Hellboy revolution at the box office, but there should be enough love for the character and a great life on DVD.
THE UPSIDE: Lots of fun for the Hellboy crowd.
THE DOWSIDE: Probably won’t shatter any records, which always puts the series in jeopardy.
ON THE SIDE: Doug Jones, who usually just plays the body of a character, also gives a voice to Abe Sapien.