Hellboy II: the Golden Army (2008) – [rate 3.5]
The signature style of Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola’s comic universe of Hellboy and the BPRD mix surprisingy well in this fantasy action thriller. Although the story is fairly straightforward and bears little hidden meaning, it’s entertaining and it looks great on the big screen. With a fantastic universe that’s likely to remind you strongly of del Toro’s recent Pan’s Labyrinth, the movie has its own feel, but lacks real originality, both in story and in setting. What originality it has, it lends from the comic book intellectual property of Mignola.
Many scenes in Hellboy II remind you of similar scenes in other recent and popular cinema and although they serve well in telling the story, you still feel a little cheated. Another small annoyance is the childish, but typically Hollywood explanations of all things obvious. For example, the explanation of the way their ‘troll seeing goggles’ work, while this is already obvious from the visuals. Or the explanation about the existence of a cat-eating, canary-fearing troll, only to introduce one right in the next scene, effectively repeating the explanation visually. That’s fine for a kid’s movie aimed at 8-year olds, but annoying in a PG-13 offering like Hellboy II.
It’s not all bad though. Casting is great, as are make-up and effects. The result is a very believable and true to the original representation of the Hellboy universe. The entire cast succeeds in getting across the personalities of their characters in their movement and stance as well as in their dialogue. The film looks very pretty in all the scenes, original or no and is well-paced.
If you like the movie, make sure you check out the original material, the comic series is well worth your time, even if you generally dislike the action/super hero and other typical comic material.