Hellboy 2019 review
I was in college when I saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army with friends and I was blown away by it. Though I'm not sure if it was the first, it was certainly the first in my book that I saw an awesome combination of fantasy and the superhero genre. I didn't see the first movie. I think it had to do with my original perception that the idea was just too weird. I'm not sure what got me to see this (it might have been Comic Con or something else), but enjoyed the excellent special effects, the feeling that the fantasy elements fit in well, and Ron Perlman's perfect casting as the big red boy himself.
I'm aware he's based off a Dark Horse comic and that it's been running for a while. I also heard that director Guillermo del Toro had wanted to get another sequel made, but it got canceled. It would make sense that another production company would want to come in and try rebooting it. While I've been an advocate in getting more original content in Hollywood, I am open to new interpretations. So let's see if the new reboot of Hellboy can spark that same fire.
Hellboy (played by David Harbour) goes to Mexico to find a friend, only to find him a vampire, and being forced to kill him. Though told the world will end, Hellboy dismisses this and returns to B.P.R.D. headquarters where his adoptive father Trevor Bruttenholm (played by Ian McShane) assigns him to England. This turns out to be a Hunting Club who need his assistance in going after three giants as part of a tradition. Though he's ambushed by the hunters, he escapes and defeats the giants. He's saved by his father, but it's revealed that while gone, someone had stolen remains of an ancient witch named Nimue.
Nimue (played by Mila Jovovich) is resurrected and seeks to use Hellboy to start the apocalypse. In order to find her, he's introduced to a young woman Alice (played by Sasha Lane), who has magical abilities, and an agent Ben (played by Daniel Dae Kim), who can turn into a jaguar. They attempt to capture Nimue, but fail to do so when she appeals to his frustrations on his own humanity and struggle being a part demon. Though Hellboy gets a chance to understand both Alice and Ben, he knows that he's vulnerable and fighting Nimue will take a lot of will power to stop her magic.
As much as I hoped this movie would be fun, Hellboy feels like a product that wasn't finished before release. It has acting problems, story problems, editing problems, and even special effects problems. It's not a complete failure as there are some really good things here. One such is David Harbour as Hellboy. Though I'll miss Ron Pearlman, Harbour does a great job playing his crass and unforgiving personality that I rarely see from screen heroes. He seems like a guy you'd want to hear stories from at the bar he drinks from.
None of that would have shined through without the makeup work, which also looked good. I'm sure the production was more tempted to use digital effects (I'll get to that), but it's nice to see that good old-fashioned prosthetics and time that brings this character back to life. Now only if he was in a better movie.
The rest of the material ranges from okay to poor. The other actors, even Ian McShane and Mila Jovovich, aren’t given much to do beyond yelling or looking intimidating. I can't blame this on them as they, along with a lot of characters, have little personality or development. Even when them movie forces this (they'll be moments where they just met and then their close in the next scene), it feels like either something was lost in the script or the editing bay. I'm guessing it was cut to try to emphasize the action and effects. The action itself is serviceable, but the R rating doesn’t add much. It's one of those things where I forgot what I saw after I saw it. The effects, which are mostly digital, have a tendency to look fake or not rendered in time. Because of this, it feels like Hellboy is fighting a bunch of video game characters, similar to the climax of Justice League.
I'll give this two Hellboy comics out of five. At best, it'll service those that want some okay action and a good Hellboy himself. At worst, it lacks anything that memorable that can't compete with Del Toro's movies. Throw this into Hell and watch the originals.