Hellboy is back, and he’s on fire. From the pages of Mike Mignola’s seminal work, this action packed story sees the legendary half-demon superhero (David Harbour, “Stranger Things”) called to the English countryside to battle a trio of rampaging giants. There he discovers The Blood Queen, Nimue (Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil series), a resurrected ancient sorceress thirsting to avenge a past betrayal. Suddenly caught in a clash between the supernatural and the human, Hellboy is now hell-bent on stopping Nimue without triggering the end of the world.
What We Thought:
The latest version of Hellboy is a pretty big swing and a miss. The Ron Perlman films weren’t great, but I enjoyed them for what they were. This latest reboot with David Harbour (Stranger Things) playing Hellboy barely held my attention and felt like Harbour impersonating Perlman in the first place.
The only real positive of this reboot is that they didn’t go with a full origin story. We’ve seen Bruce Wayne’s parents killed in every adaptation of Batman that at this point we never need to see it again. I’m glad that this film didn’t need to retell us everything in that same way. This film adapts the Hellboy: The Wild Hunt comic storyline with Hellboy going to England, meeting Alice, a young woman he saved as a baby from a fairy and fighting sorceress Nimue. He also meets the spirit of Morgana le Fay who tells him of his birth, his mother and father and how he’s an heir to King Arthur. That’s the only origin they really talk about in the film and I’m glad. The Perlman films weren’t that long ago, we didn’t need another full on origin.
Other than the story being cool nothing else really worked for me. It’s the latest over the top CGI-fest that hurts my brain and is completely confusing. None of it looks good and you can never really tell what’s going on. Only one fight sequence is fun and that’s at the very end with Motley Crue playing over the scene. At that point I really didn’t care, but if the entire movie was like that, it would have been better. Speaking of music, other than Motley’s Kickstart My Heart, none of the score or other music fits the film. It’s all jarring and doesn’t match the scene. The mixture of bad effects and bad music doesn’t make for an entertaining film.
I didn’t like the look of Harbour’s Hellboy either. Overall the effects of the film (both CG and practical) weren’t good, but Hellboy himself looked off. Perlman first played the character 15 years ago and he looked better than than this latest version. Milla Jovovich may not be an Oscar winner, but she deserves a better character than this as well. Her character is pretty much a CG composite and despite Milla being a genre queen, ultimately she’s not necessary in the movie. Like Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok, these characters are mostly CGI and don’t require talented actresses to play the role. Jovovich’s character looks completely fake throughout most of the movie like most of the other characters.
As you can tell I didn’t enjoy Hellboy. I could keep going and nitpick it to death, but you get the point. Even with this version being Rated R to be closer to the source material, it still felt incoherent and unfocused. If you are expecting a fun time ala Deadpool, you’re wrong. I’m quite disappointed.
CAST & FILMMAKERS:
Cast: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, and Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Penelope Mitchell, with Daniel Dae Kim
Directed by: Neil Marshall
Screenplay by: Andrew Cosby
Based on: The Dark Horse Comic Book ‘Hellboy’ Created by Mike Mignola