Hellboy Reboot Should Stay Buried
I will preface this article by saying that writing this review absolutely breaks my heart. Mike Mignola’s Hellboy series is by far and away my favorite comic book of all time. The world Mignola built, the mythology, the characters. It is a world steeped in emotional expanse. Mignola is a pure creative genius and it is only suitable that another genius creator would take Mignola’s characters to unimaginable heights.
What Guillermo del Toro was able to achieve with his first 2 films was an achievement. The most unlikely of characters would go on to become a film franchise star. Even if the franchise only lasted for two critically acclaimed and fan-beloved entries. Like the Mignola comic book series before them, the Hellboy movies hold a very special place in my heart.
Themes of family, inclusion and struggling with one’s place in this world struck a chord with fans worldwide. So going into this new 2019 iteration had me both excited and extremely nervous. So let me break down what separates this new Hellboy from del Toro’s modern classic.
Perlman and Del Toro’s Winning Combo Was Absent Throughout
First and foremost, let’s get the obvious out of the way. There’s no Ron Perlman this go around. A fact that turned many a fan away immediately. Ron, in everyone’s eyes, IS Hellboy. Comparatively the way Christopher Reeve will always be Superman. No matter how good the actor following in his footsteps, they’ll never compare to Perlman.
David Harbour (Stranger Things) does a commendable job stepping into the big right hand as Hellboy. Harbour is an excellent actor and perhaps had he been given a better script could have really knocked this out of the park. Harbour’s Hellboy is much more badass than Pelman’s. One scene in particular, where Hellboy accepts his destiny and marches out of a crypt, horns fully borne, crowns above his head and wielding a flaming Excalibur, made me say holy sh*t out loud.
The cast overall was very well selected and did a commendable job with the material they were given. While Milla Jovovich’s seemingly phoned in portrayal of The Blood Queen was a complete waste of screen time for the cult favorite actress, her arc never established her as more than ‘insert generic villain here’ material. The absolute surprise of the film was undoubtedly the Baba Yaga. She looked ripped right from a del Toro monster sketchbook.
Jovovich’s Blood Queen Was Bloody Awful
The masterstroke of del Toro was sorely missed here. Director Neil Marshall is nowhere near the caliber of director del Toro is and it shows here. Painfully. Hellboy suffers from simply not having quality material nor the director with the ability to pull it off.
Marshall was chosen for his excellent horror film The Descent and his amazing work on Game of Thrones. I have a similar gripe when it comes to Game of Thrones being handed big properties to adapt to screen. The same thing happened to Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor. Who was recruited by Marvel for the God of Thunder’s sophomore outing after his stellar work directing episodes of Game of Thrones. But the director couldn’t pull it off for the big screen.
Hellboy should’ve stuck to the Small Screen
I’ve long said that Hellboy deserves to be adapted as a Netflix-type show or miniseries where you can flesh out the dense storylines and complex characters. Hellboy (2019) simply suffers from the creative team trying to shove as much fan service into its 121-minute runtime. A feat that not only comes across as half-hearted but also comical. The film can’t decide if it wants to be dark and brooding or comical romp. The result comes across like a dated SYFY Original movie instead of a blockbuster superhero film.
- David Harbour is a damn good successor to Ron Perlman.
- Great cast and creature design.
- Bad script and direction.
- Dated and incomplete visual fx.
- Rushed and incoherent story elements.
While I love Hellboy to my bones, this film is an utter disappointment. These characters deserve better. Here’s hoping that long-rumored Hellboy anime starts catching steam now.
How did we rate Hellboy? 1 Sodas
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Comic book writer and creator by day. Caffeine-fueled mad man by night. Swears Lucha Libre is the way to a woman’s heart.