Guillermo del Toro made two Hellboy movies back in 2004 and 2008, both of which are very good movies that understood its characters and understood the world they were in. However, due to neither film making a lot of money domestically – the first one making $59 million, the second one making $75 million, respectively – Hollywood decided to not let del Toro finish out a trilogy and instead wait eleven years to reboot the Hellboy franchise, with a new director, story team, and actor donning the giant fist.
Boy was that a terrible idea. This reboot of Hellboy features everything a bad comic book movie could have. From the plot, characters, performances, visual effects, and the choppy, chaotic editing, this is one of the worst comic book movies ever made.
In this Hellboy, our part-demon/part-human demon man (David Harbour) must go up against an evil sorceress (Mila Jovovich) who is hellbent on bringing the world to hell with the help of Alice (Sasha Lane), Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), and his dad, Professor Broom (Ian McShane)
There is a lot happening in this movie but none of it matters because it seems like nobody making this movie seemed to care. The whole thing feels like it was thrown together without any actual point as to where they wanted the movie, or potential franchise (*shudder*), to go. It’s just a series of sequences all with no consequence or development to the characters. There’s a father-son relationship that is horribly developed, a villain that might as well not exist, supporting characters who just show up and do nothing, and whole bunch of bloody violence that just feels gratuitous. There is also the weird genre tones of horror and action comic book, which if done correctly, like in del Toro’s films, is great. But this movie doesn’t mesh the two well at all, making the film jarring and unpleasant to watch.
Harbour has been one of those “that guy” actors and you can tell he really wants this role, his first big lead role in a major film, to work and unless they wanted Helboy to be a whiney frat boy, this is a rough performance. All Hellboy does is yell and complain while insulting everyone around him. He’s a spoiled brat of a hero, a hero less worthy of gracing the screen than Josh Trank’s Fant4stic squad. There was never a moment in the film where I was rooting for Hellboy to survive or win. If he had gotten decapitated halfway through the film, I might have given this film another star because it would have gotten me home sooner. The supporting cast, filled with wonderful actors like Jovovich, McShane, and Lane, are all wasted, with McShane playing a character who I’m not sure has an accent, but there is one floating in and out of him as the movie goes.
The most egregious part of Hellboy is the special effects, which deserve its own paragraph, as well as an award for worst effects of the decade. My God, was this bad. If I was playing a video game and it looked like this, I would return the game. From the disastrous troll battle to sequence, to the weird looking telepathic spirits coming from Alice’s mouth, to baby Hellboy, who looks more like the Ally McBeal dancing baby than an actual devil child, every visual effect in this movie is an abomination and feels like it was done in an entry level computer class than a Hollywood VFX studio. And with this movie being so visual effect-heavy, it makes Hellboy look more like a PlayStation 2 game than an actual movie.
Since the time del Toro stopped making his Hellboy films, he has gone on to make box office successes and even win himself an Oscar. So instead of letting del Toro make a third film or even relaunch the property, they decided to make this version of Hellboy, which is one of the worst comic book movies ever made. I hated watching this movie and hated writing about this movie. Hellboy is one of the worst movies of the year.
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