Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple. Spoiler free reviews. Keep it simple dummy.
Towards the end of World War II, the Nazis attempted to open a portal to a paranormal dimension in order to win the war. However they are only able to summon a baby demon which is then rescued by the Allied forces and dubbed “Hellboy” (Ron Perlman).
Sixty years later, Hellboy serves as an agent in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, where he, aided by Abe Sapien, a merman with psychic powers, and Liz Sherman, a woman with pyrokinesis, help protect America and the world against dark forces.
Before the new wave of superhero movies that have followed Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe came dud after dud of comic book movie adaptions. Hellboy was the first adaption that was not only true to the source material, but was actually good. Mike Mignola, the original creator of the Hellboy character, stated that he was “very happy” with the movie. Which feels like quite a rarity for novels adapted to the big screen. This film is fun, fast paced and entertaining. Ron Perlman is perfect as the titular character and I honestly couldn’t imagine anyone else playing this role as well as he did.
I was 14 years old when this film first came out and I instantly fell in love with the character. Hellboy is actually the franchise that inspired me to look into the world of graphic novels for the first time. I think I can attribute Guillermo Del Toro’s clear love for the project and the amount of heart he put into for bringing the character to life for me. Now that I’ve read Mike Mignola’s books it’s clear to me that you couldn’t get a more accurate representation of the source material that would also work so well for the big screen.
There are a few problems with the film granted. Character development in general is a bit sparse for all involved. From Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, Rasputin and even Hellboy himself could all do with a little bit more back story. FBI agent John Myers is probably the weakest of the movie. He’s been personally requested by Proffessor Bruttenholm to be transferred to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, although we’re never told or see much reason why. His purpose is to be a relatable character for the audience in a world of demons and monsters, which is fine, but he does come across as rather bland.
That said if you’re a pre existing fan of the Hellboy character and for some reason you haven’t seen this film, I recommend it. If you’ve never seen or read anything about Hellboy, I recommend it to you as well. Afterwards if you do like the film, maybe read some of the graphic novels as well. They’re great.