hellboy | neil marshall | andrew cosby | david harbour | milla jovovich | ian mcshane | comic book | based on | remake | monster | monsters | creature | creatures | demon | demons | action | adventure | fantasy | sci-fi | sci fi | united states | united kingdom | bulgaria
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Andrew Cosby
Starring: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane
I was intrigued to check this film out as I enjoyed the Guillermo Del Toro version and though it was fun. When I heard this one was going to be hard R, I figured they would be able to ramp up the horror more which is something I’m always down for. I was also interested when I heard that David Harbour would be playing Hellboy, as I’m a fan of him from Stranger Things. The synopsis is Hellboy is caught between the worlds of the supernatural and the human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge.
We kick off back in the dark ages in England. It is stated that King Arthur (Mark Stanley) was real. The armies of man are fighting against the supernatural. With him is Merlin (Brian Gleeson), his wizard, as they go against Nimue (Milla Jovovich) the Blood Queen. She is defeated and her body is cut into pieces. They are sealed in boxes that only a priest can open and hidden around the United Kingdom.
It then shifts to the present. We are in Tijuana where Hellboy is looking for a colleague. We hear his father, Professor Broom (Ian McShane) telling him to forget about the agent and to come home. Hellboy was friends with him and wants him back. It turns out though that the vampires Esteban Ruiz (Mario de la Rosa) was investigating got to him.
When Hellboy returns to their base, he learns of his next mission. He is going to England to help out an order as they hunt giants. Things aren’t really as they seem though. They reveal Hellboy’s past and how he came to be with Professor Broom. They also tell him the legend of Nimue. Along the way, behind the scenes, a creature is collecting her pieces to bring her back. The creature wants his revenge against Hellboy, but Nimue has other plans for him. It involves waking up his true nature and revealing even more truth of his past.
Now I will admit, coming into this film I heard mixed things about it. Some liked it and others were complaining about it. This film was exactly what I thought it was going to be. It feels like an R rated, big budget, horror, comic book film, which is what Hellboy is. There were some things that I really liked that they did with it too.
The first thing for me was that I liked that they incorporated the myth of King Arthur into this. Now I’ve never read any of the comics so I don’t know if they have it in there or it was just used for this film. I think this is really interesting though, because it gives perspective to certain things that could happen. Going from that, we really get the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies. No matter what people in this film say or try to do, they could be pushing Hellboy to fulfill his prophecy. It makes you wonder if he still would or you are not giving him enough credit to do the right thing. I dig this idea.
Something else with this film is the reason that Nimue wants to destroy humanity. Part of it is for revenge for what happened to her. That is completely understandable. She is angered though when she is watching television to see what we have become. I’m partially guilty as I love some bad reality television every now and then. It really boils down to humans are trash and we need to be wiped out. As horrible as it sounds, I can’t really argue against her logic here.
I really liked that in this version, they did away with the sappy love story. I get that we all want to find our one person, which is great. Now Nimue has a plan for Hellboy, which is fine, but I do have to admit, it is for a similar reason. I also liked that they briefly give us how Hellboy came into this world like in the previous version, which includes the Nazis, Grigori Rasputin (Markos Rounthwaite) and my favorite character, Von Krupt (Joel Harlow). I will admit though, after a second viewing of this, it does feel like it is missing heart to be honest.
This brings me to the pacing of the film, which I think is fine. The film for being 2 hours, didn’t really feel like it. We keep getting action and things happening which I’m a big fan of. The only issue I had is that there is something like three flashbacks to fill in back-story. I think it is good to show us things and not tell us, but it did get to be a bit much. This being a reimagining of the graphic novels, I understand why it was done to get us to speed with the lore. I thought the ending was good, it really reveals the character and nature of Hellboy. It does set itself up for a sequel if they want with some mid and post credits scenes.
To the acting, I think that Harbour is solid as Hellboy. In the previous version and its sequel, I liked Ron Perlman. When I heard Harbour would take over the role, I wasn’t worried. He shows enough of the sarcasm that you need for the character from Stranger Things and it played well. He did a fine job in this role, even though he does play it a bit whiney. Jovovich was also solid as the villain. She seems menacing and it is an interesting role for her. It is not physically demanding like a lot of ones she’s taken in the past. I thought that Sasha Lane who plays Alice Monaghan and Daniel Dae Kim as Major Ben Daimio were both solid. The rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed as well, with a special shout out to Stephen Graham who voices Grugach.
Now to something I’ve been waiting to cover even while I was sitting in the theater. The effects of this film are mostly CGI. For those who know me, I love practical effects. We do get some of that. I thought the look of Hellboy was good and even the Hell King version was solid. There is a lot of CGI though. Some of it is really good, I will give it that. There were some really bad aspects to it as well. A good bit of this came from blood for sure where it wasn’t good. There is just so much CGI in this. I came to expect it for sure. I will say that the film is shot really well though.
The last thing to cover before wrapping this up would be the soundtrack of the film. It is used in some pretty creative ways actually. From the Rock you Like a Hurricane in Spanish to some other rock music used during fight scenes. I think it was used pretty well and I actually thought it helped out the film to match the feeling of the scenes.
Now with that said, I had fun with this film. Do I think it is great? Not by any stretch. It actually has some deeper feelings in it that I wasn’t expecting and I liked that. The story has some interesting concepts to it and the acting I thought was solid. The pacing of the film really moves along at a good clip with a solid ending. I don’t think we needed as many flashbacks as we got though. There are a lot of effects, some good and some that are bad. The soundtrack of the film was solid as well. I don’t think everyone will like this. If you like comic book films, I think you’ll enjoy this as it really feels like a film like that. This just incorporates a lot more horror elements for sure. I do think that after a second viewing, it is just lacking heart. I’ve come down that this is an above average film and it really is just fun for the right audience.
My Rating: 7 out of 10