‘Hellboy (2019)’ // Film Review

Walking into any kind of comic book/superhero would automatically think its gonna be fantastic because any movie nerd will fall for it. That’s not true. Not every comic book movie turns out to be even decent. The latest re-imagining of Hellboy was gonna be a tough call whether or not its the first movie to be disliked before the summer movie season begins.

What’s the Story: Based on Mike Mignola’s graphic novels from Dark Horse comics, half-demon Hellboy (David Harbour) is a part of the organization Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) and is caught in the worlds of supernatural and human tries to stop the rise of Nimue (Milla Jovovich), the Blood Queen who’s hasn’t been around for centuries and has been resurrected to end the world.

David Harbour in Hellboy (2019)

Most comic book fans would consider the first two movies, directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Ron Perlman, stood out from most of the 2000s era. Do I think they’re the best comic book movies ever made? Not really, but I can truly appreciate the unique style that Del Toro puts into the 2004 film and its 2008 sequel with its world-building. Also, I prefer the first movie over The Golden Army. But since both movies didn’t do so well financially, Del Toro couldn’t get the third installment off the ground. Now, we have the 2019 version to look forward to, right?

In retrospect, a reboot of Hellboy didn’t sound too bad at first when it was announced a couple of years ago. Then those trailers came out, and they’re the kind that made fans rage quit. However, I went into this with an open mind just hoping for this to be on a guilty pleasure type of enjoyment and try not comparing this to Del Toro’s movies. Four minutes into Hellboy, that probably wasn’t gonna be the case.

Neil Marshall, director of The Descent and two of some of the greatest episodes of Game of Thrones in history, takes the resigns to make this a gritty and dark take on Mignola’s creation. He’s proven himself to be a solid enough director, but I have no idea what he was trying to accomplish here. Marshall does the opposite with what Del Toro did by making this look almost bland or creative. Working off of Andrew Cosby’s unbearable script just made it worse, since it felt so rushed right from in the way to uses a ton of needless exposition that takes up a minute. From the opening and everything in-between was not flowing by smoothly.

Harbour, ideally, was a solid choice to play the titular antihero, and I can honestly say the Stranger Things actor was a fine job (under prosthetic makeup that’s passable enough). It would be unfair to compare Harbour to Perlman since these are different performances of the same character, but I do feel like Perlman was perfectly cast. Harbour is doing to best he can with what he’s given. Even so, I just didn’t care about Hellboy for one iota. He just came off as an unlikable bro for half of the runtime. And it doesn’t help when he yells out his dialogue.

Besides that, this was trash. The story itself isn’t anything new, to be honest. If you know the synopsis, it’s been done before to the point of predictability. I couldn’t help myself but to not care about anything in here. At no point did I became invested with Queen Nimue’s path for vengeance. Who cares? This version also can’t make up its mind in terms of deciding on a tone to set on.

None of the action sequences were keeping my interest, and all of it was poorly directed by Marshall. There was nothing about them that came across as amazing whenever Hellboy is fighting off these creatures in an obvious green screen environment. The stakes didn’t feel real at all when the dismal editing and the CGI were distracting.

As for the humor thrown in here, it made me look around the theater. Not because they were laughing, but trying to wrap my head trying to be like, “Was that really just said by that character?” It’s the kind of cringe-worthy comedy that’s written for cheesy ’80s action movies where it involves bad one-liners, including one that was so predictable that I wanted to shoot the middle finger to the screen in frustration. Not funny.

Other performances in here come from Sasha Lane as Alice, who has psychic abilities and can communicate with the dead; Ian McShane as Hellboy’s father, Trevor Bruttenholm, with some heavy-handed father-son problems, and Daniel Dae Kim as Daimio, solider for the B.P.R.D working alongside. All of whom could’ve utilized their skills in a much better movie than this.

What this ultimately lacks was the purpose of fun while watching this. Nothing about the two hours sitting there was remotely entertaining. And just because you can insert good rock music to make it seem cool, it really doesn’t. Just the more I think about this, the more really come to hate it. Can’t say this was the same as being in hell, but it came close.

Daniel Dae Kim, David Harbour, and Sasha Lane in Hellboy (2019)

Didn’t know what to expect from this Hellboy being benefited for an R-rating. And since this is going for that, there no reason to be excited if you just want to go into this wanting f-bombs and blood. It’s like it was trying way too hard to be hardcore and edgy with its rating. The excessive gore just became pointless when we all should know bloody violence doesn’t always make a good worth watching to some. One of the only exceptions is Logan. Why? Because it’s awesome.

In the end, Hellboy was pretty terrible, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Harbour does what he can when working with the source material, but this reboot offers no memorable action, a rushed/horrible script, and tons of bad humor that’s unneeded. There has to be one comic book movie a year where it can’t compete against the others, and it’s safe to say Hellboy is in the running to be considered this year’s Venom. Just watch the original two to save your time and money.

Grade: D


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