Thanks for checking out our Hellboy 2 review. If you’d like to see the video version of the Hellboy 2 review, you can see it at the bottom of this post.
When Mike Mignola’s creation “Hellboy” was brought to the big screen by Guillermo del Toro I was blown away by the results. Having only read a couple of the comics, I wasn’t sure how on earth they could bring this type of a character… this type of a world to the big screen in a way that general audiences would “get it”. Somehow they found a way and made Hellboy probably the most underrated Comic Book movie ever… Hellboy himself is one of the most interesting characters certainly in the entire genre on screen and was perfectly embodied by Ron Perlman. Needless to say I was very excited about the prospects of another Hellboy movies, and last night I had that chance to see it. Was my anticipation rewarded? Yes it was.
THE GENERAL IDEA
The synopsis for Hellboy 2 looks something like this: “The Golden Army begins when an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic is broken; Hell on earth is ready to erupt. Hellboy 2 tells the tale of a ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below, defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures. Its up to the planets toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. He may be red, he may be horned, he may be misunderstood, but when you need the job done right, its time to call in Hellboy (Ron Perlman), and the B.P.R.D.
The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) will travel between the surface world and the unseen magical one, where creatures of fantasy become corporeal, along with his expanding team pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), aquatic empath Abe (Doug Jones), and protoplasmic mystic Johann Krauss (James Dodd), the newest member of the BPRD. Hellboy, a creature of two worlds who is accepted by neither, must choose between the life he knows and an unknown destiny that beckons him.
A slip-up results in the F.B.I. being forced to reveal the existence of BPRD to the general public. Brash old Hellboy doesn’t play well with the public, which only increases the instability of his already-turning-rough relationship with Liz. However, fellow paranormal Johann (who is a sort of ectoplasmic spirit held within a very special containment suit) is far better with the public — and with Liz, apparently. But in the end they’ve all got to come together to fight Prince Nuada (son of the Woodland King), who, with his army of ghouls, faerie, and the like, is attempting to resurrect a golden army once controlled by his father.”
Del Toro does such a magnificent job creating this world in which the “normal” world and the world of the fantastic live together in close proximity. Other projects that have a fantastic world within the same realm of our own often come across as cheesy, but the way Del Toro weaves it all together is amazing.
The character design is just beautiful and very different from the run of the mill, cookie cutter creature design we see in a lot of other flicks. Del Toro designed a lot of the creatures himself and you can completely see the signature look that he also used for some of his creatures in “Pan’s Labyrinth”. All very original… all breathtakingly beautiful.
Good comic book movies need a solid antagonist. And Prince Nuara fits the need very nicely. The role is played by Luke Goss who also appeared in Del Toro’s “Blade 2″ as the main bad guy Nomak. He has a terrific intensity about him that make him something to dread. And this may sound odd… but I find the best “bad guys” are the ones who think they’re being “good”. They have a sense of honor about them. To me this is extra scary.
Perlman once again rules as Hellboy. It’s hard to imagine anyone else doing this role as well as he’s done it (although I’m sure I’d be saying the same thing if another guy had done it in the first place too).
The Mythology of the story is incredible. The movie starts with flashback of a young Hellboy going to bed and his father (who died in the first movie) telling him the bedtime story of the Golden Army. It’s a terrific tale with so many classic elements in it. It sets a wonderful framework for the movie as a whole.
I didn’t think I’d like the new character on the team, Johann Kraus, but as it turns out he was one of my favorite characters in the movie. I talked to some people after the screening that thought he sounded silly (strong German accent), but I thought he was hilarious and thought the accent really added to the character.
The visual effects were… WOW… just wow. Especially The Golden Army itself. Some amazing looking stuff.
I was actually pretty happy to hear that Doug Jones (The man who was in Abe’s suit for the first movie, but David Hyde Pierce did the voice) was going to get to do the voice of Abe as well this time around. Doug (for those of you who may not know) was also the body of the Silver Surfer in fantastic Four 2… but didn’t get to do the voice, and the voice of Pan the Faun in Pan’s Labyrinth… but didn’t get to do the voice I don’t think either. Unfortunately, i don’t think Doug’s voice worked for Abe. He did his very best to mimic David Hyde Pierce, but for me it fell short. I found myself constantly expecting to hear the first voice come out… but it never did. Too bad.
The movie isn’t a comedy per se, and I understand that… but the first one was a lot funnier. Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of priceless scenes that had me laughing out loud… but not nearly as many as the first Hellboy movie, and I was expecting a little more of that with the characters you had here.
I can’t really put my finger on it… but Selma Blair (who I really like normally) just didn’t work nearly as well for me as Liz this time around as she did in the last flick. And it wasn’t just the character… it felt to me like Blair was bored or something. In sports terms it felt like she just mailed in her performance and didn’t give much of an effort. She didn’t suck… but she didn’t bring it either… or even tried to… shame.
Hellboy 2 ends up being a fun, beautiful looking fantasy / adventure type movie that manages to be a tiny bit better than the first one. No, it’s not as funny and the lack of David Hyde Pierce was painfully obvious, but other than that it’s a truly fun time at the theaters. Del Toro does it again! Overall I give Hellboy 2 a 7.5 out of 10.