“Hellboy (2019) is a waste of time, money, and talent on every level.”
Hellboy has long been a favorite of mine since I first read his comics many years ago. The whole fascination with his character, where he came from, and the mysterious organization that tracks and investigates paranormal activity called the B.P.R.D. was truly captivating. Several years ago, filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro (Blade II, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) got to make two Hellboy films, which he had stated was his favorite comic book. He brought Hellboy and the world he lived into to life that displayed all of the charm, magic, wonder, story, and development of each character perfectly. Literally none of those aspects are in this 2019 reboot of the iconic character. Hellboy (2019) is a waste of time, money, and talent on every level.
It has a decent case and director for sure, including David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Hellboy and Ian McShane as Hellboy’s adoptive father Trevor Bruttenholm. Sitting in the director’s chair is Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, and two of the best Game of Thrones episodes to ever air). Obviously, Neil knows what he’s doing, however a total of 15 producers came aboard this and tried to have their way, which by the look of it now in the news, this film had a sordid and painful production with the producers trying to destroy everything Marshall was doing. And it completely shows on screen with every bloody and horrible sequence.
In the comic books and the Del Toro films, Hellboy had a PG-13 quality to it, where we didn’t need to have so many gratuitous F-bombs or blood and guts spilled out consistently. It was more elegant and told through a better and more cohesive lens. Even though Hellboy was fighting demons from hell and monsters, and at times had a bad attitude, you could bring him home to meet the family and kids. That’s not the case with this reboot, as its hard R rating is just for the sake of being rated R. There are constant super gory deaths, which are fun here and there, but when there is no reason for it, it becomes lazy, sloppy, and uninteresting.
Hellboy himself is is drunk who slurs his speech and is in no case someone you’d want to be around. It’s hard to believe they made Hellboy unlikable here. His trusty companions aren’t any better either with a young girl who has the ability to communicate with the dead as well as Daniel Day Kim’s character, who is a jerk first and foremost, but also a elite operative who can transform into a were-jaguar when he gets mad. Think The Incredible Hulk, but instead of a big green man, a jaguar who can easily be beaten. It’s downright laughable.
This reboot follows Hellboy and his band of misfits as they try and destroy an old witch (similar to the Lady in the Water folklore) named Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich), who is coming back from being chopped into little pieces around the world to raise the demons from hell and kill everyone on the planet with her pig sidekick (voiced from the character Tommy from Snatch). Meanwhile, Hellboy is questioning his adoptive father’s motives, which doesn’t really play out to anything good.
The only really good moment in the film is the character called Lobster Johnson, played by the amazing Thomas Hayden Church, who gives it a funny Captain America like performance. Unfortunately though, his total screen time is about 20 seconds. Nothing really makes sense in the film and all of it plays out like if Michael Bay made a Hellboy movie that is all sloppy action scenes with a ton of blood and downright laughable and awful dialogue with no semblance of any character development or story. Even the CGI in most scenes was dreadful, down to the makeup job on Hellboy himself. Do yourself a favor and don’t subject yourself to this over 2 hour spectacle of nastiness.