When it comes to comic books heroes the likes of Batman, Superman or Spider-Man tend to come mind. However to others heroics come from the most unlikely of comic book characters. A case in point of this is none other than Hellboy. Created by Mike Mignola Hellboy is the story of a demon raised by humans and tasked to take on supernatural conflicts while being a part of the B.P.R.D (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense). The silver screen is no stranger to the big red hero as Hellboy has been featured in two major blockbusters directed by Guillermo Del Toro. It has been sometime since Hellboy was on the big screen, but now the hero is making a comeback with a brand new movie. Hellboy is a reboot for the series with director Neil Marshall taking the helm from Del Toro. With a gritier look and a new studio behind it Hellboy could be a resurgence for the character, or just be an entertaining time at the movies. After seeing the film for myself I can say that it is the latter for this new reboot.
The story centers on Hellboy (David Harbour) who finds himself on a case of apocalyptic proportions as the blood queen Nimue (Milla Jovovich) seeks to destroy mankind in order to make a world for supernatural beings. The story to this reboot was exciting to say the least. The plot wastes no time getting into the thick of things as it sets its premise up and then throws Hellboy right into an action packed adventure. The narrative was indeed thrilling but its quick nature could work against it in certain places. The pacing did not hurt the plot significantly but it did hinder the story from exploring some of its elements such as Nimue’s backstory. Yet even with this issue there were still plenty of merits behind this monstrous plot. The story created world that was rich with lore; something that the film’s predecessors loosely touched on. Furthermore this plot’s character centric nature was effective, for the most part, as it worked as a coming of age story for Hellboy. While it was not the cleanest of tales I cannot deny that this plot was not enjoyable as it was gruesome in all the right ways.
When bringing a character like Hellboy to life it is certainly no easy task; especially when you have to follow up the likes of Ron Perlman. However I think the new movie pulled it off as David Harbour was fantastic as the demonic hero. Hellboy was a protagonist with plenty of layers to him as his gruff demeanor was complimented by his inner conflict; and Harbour brought these aspects out brilliantly. Along with a great lead was a fairly solid cast. Additions such as Alice (Sasha Lane) and Ben Daimo (Daniel Dae Kim) turned out better characters then I expected; though Alice could have used little more relevance to the overall film. Even the likes of Grugach (Stephen Graham) turned out to be compelling character-at least to some extent. More notably in the cast was Ian McShane as Trevor Bruttenholm and Milla Jovovich as Nimue. Like Harbour ,McShane had a task ahead of him to bring this character to life, but his take on Hellboy’s father was suitable. The character had a little more grit to him than previous portrayals, but this did work as brought some intriguing aspects to Bruttenholm and gave a compelling dynamic between him and Hellboy. Finally Milla Jovovich rounded out the cast as the Blood Queen. While she did not have most compelling of characters, Nimue was still an effective villainess as Jovovich brought her A game to bring this sorceress to life.
When it came to elements such as effects it was hit and miss for Hellboy. The visuals were a bit inconsistent as the film’s cgi were not the best looking, but the blend with practical effects brought out the movie’s gritty nature as well as complimented the fantasy elements of the film. The action was also a highlight as it was as exhilarating as it was brutal. The score by Benjamin Wallfisch was not the memorable soundtracks that I have heard this year, but it managed to capture the concepts behind the movie; and its use of rock songs kept did keep this aspect lively. All of these aspects helped to create a tone that was rich with horror, action and fantasy; and to me that suits Hellboy just nicely.
Hellboy was, if nothing else, an enjoyable reboot. While it could be inconsistent with some its directions the movie made up for it with its enjoyable plot, strong cast and captivating tone. Along with these attributes was the film’s gritty action and a tone that felt right at home for the title character. Hellboy may not be the most glamorous of comic book movies, but with its thrills and wit this reboot ended up being one hell of a ride.