Hellboy is a name that almost every single comic book nerd should be aware of. Hellboy became one of the most popular comic book characters after the release of the original film directed by Guillermo del Toro. Not only was that film a fresh take on the superhero genre, but it was also one of the earliest films in the genre that truly showcased its high potential. Not to mention, Ron Perlman was made to play this character. So, what happens when fans keep asking for a sequel for years on end, and instead what they get is a reboot with a different actor? Well, if the reboot isn’t any good, you get a whole lot of criticism.
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The Movie Review
The plot opens in the year 517 A.D. With the aid of his dependable legendary blade Excalibur, King Arthur vanquishes the Blood Queen, slicing her into pieces and burying parts of her body scattered across remote locations of his far-reaching land. The Queen is put back together 1500 years later by changeling Gruagach so that she might wipe out humanity and rule the Earth as its one and only omnipotent power.
The task of stopping this is handed to none other than Hellboy, the most valuable asset for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.
Most people dismissed this film due to the change in cast and crew. However, even putting aside the change in director and cast, there is still much to dislike about the film. The creature-filled action scenes rely too heavily on unrealistic CGI, the comedy frequently falters, Daniel Dae Kim and Sasha Lane are terrible as Hellboy’s sidekicks, and the plot is rather disjointed. Essentially, it feels like this remake was an effort to turn Hellboy into a “Marvel Cinematic Universe” rip-off to bank on the never-ending popularity of The Avengers.
Unfortunately, much of the graphic gore is likewise digital, even if the R-Rating permits much of it. There are some hilariously ridiculous situations here. Eastenders fans will love watching Mo Harris holding a machine pistol in Hellboy’s confrontation with the repulsive witch Baba Yaga, who resides in a witch hut on enormous chicken legs.
The film appears to be more authentic to the comics than Del Toro’s films due to its connections to Arthurian legend. The single-shot battle scene in a Siberian compound near the climax of the movie is one of the few sequences in the film where director Neil Marshall demonstrates his true abilities.
I do appreciate David Harbour in the role of Hellboy as he delivers one of the best performances as a superhero character in recent memory. Not to mention, the rest of the cast here is almost always good too, aside from Hellboy’s sidekicks.
Mila Jovovich as the Blood Queen Is a fanciful take on its comic book counterpart. These two single-handedly carried the film and made sure that there’s more to love about this than meets the eye. Unfortunately, the rest of the cat doesn’t seem too on board with this mindset.
Visually though, this film is definitely not as conventional as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s a lot of color here, and some of the camera angles are quite decent. There’s also a ton of well-shot sequences here and there, scattered throughout the film. Though, it doesn’t reach the same level of quality as the Guillermo del Toro films, which had genuinely amazing cinematography from start to finish.
The music is also somewhat of a letdown. Composer Benjamin Wallfisch tries his best to imitate the one and only Danny Elfman, but he fails quite aggressively since he doesn’t manage to create anything to original, or something that enhances the film itself.
Despite the director’s efforts and the performers’ skill, the film doesn’t have the same allure as the Guillermo del Toro duology. The movie is far truer to the comics, but it also makes an effort to be true to the earlier films as every reboot should. However, instead of becoming something original and creating an identity of its own, it just ends up being a muddled-up mess of different versions of this character.
Although the monster design is almost harrowing in artistic pedigree, the CGI is so overused that none of it feels weighty enough. Not to mention, virtually every character lacks the depth that the original duology had.
- R-Rated and proud
- Some really cool action sequences
- The story is actually decent and quite true to its comic book roots
- Bland humor that takes away from the film
- The well-written story is often neglected for cheap thrills and laughs
- Characters lack depth and development
- The soundtrack is a bit bland