Before beginning my Hellboy journey, I heard some negative things about the 2019 film, but throughout watching these movies, I’ve found the character of Hellboy to be pretty iconic all on his own, meaning he could always potentially make a bad movie better, and I would definitely say the same applies here, but in this case, I still don’t think I’ll be able to defend this film very much. We’ll see. What is it all about? Not an easy question, so I’ll just copy-paste what the official website says.
Hellboy is back, and he’s on fire. From the pages of Mike Mignola’s seminal work, this action packed story sees the legendary half-demon superhero (David Harbour, “Stranger Things”) called to the English countryside to battle a trio of rampaging giants. There he discovers The Blood Queen, Nimue (Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil series), a resurrected ancient sorceress thirsting to avenge a past betrayal. Suddenly caught in a clash between the supernatural and the human, Hellboy is now hell-bent on stopping Nimue without triggering the end of the world.Summit Entertainment/Millenium Films
I think we can safely say that this movie is an incoherent mess, right? This is the kind of movie that never really felt like it was going to end because it was essentially a collection of ideas that nobody could agree on, and to make everyone happy, they just included everything. So, while there is one overall big bad, there’s all of these side stories in the meantime before Hellboy gets around to battling the big bad. By the time he gets to that eventual climax, I was completely out of it and no longer cared how he finally resolved the initial conflict. This film would’ve worked about 1000x better as a TV series. That’s what it feels like, fan-edit of a TV show that never aired with all of the special episodes that mentioned the big bad by name.
This ultimately confusing feeling that the film gives off is really unfortunate, because it does have some good ideas. Out of all Hellboy films, this film featured the best CGI, as well as some practical effects and makeup designs that are somewhat reminiscent of how those 2000s movies did their thing. Plus, the actual look of Hellboy is much more realistic than how the original movies portrayed him to be, technically speaking. I was also happy to see that this wasn’t completely serious from beginning to end, which was something I feared might happen. There was still some good humor to be found, albeit separate from what you’d typically find in the earlier films…but that could just be a generational thing, too. Finally, the R-Rating that Hellboy had finally allowed gore to be introduced into the universe, which I feel was a huge advantage over the others.
Another missing artifact in this film was the other characters. The original films had a good sense of diversity when it came to their characters, and because of that, held a great amount of chemistry and back-and-forth moments that probably hold a lot of nostalgia for people. You have Hellboy and a ton of humans in this movie, which seriously watered down any diversity, chemistry, independent importance, and back-and-forth it could have easily had. The only other monsters were, well, monsters. Evil-doers that caused havoc just to cause havoc, so not even they had that much depth to them. Even if the writers wanted to give the monsters depth, they wouldn’t have had the ability to because the whole movie was just littered with garbage. There was very little room for growth or development.
I still hold the belief that Hellboy is a very iconic character and easily can make bad elements in a film better, but he’s not perfect. A bad movie is still a bad movie, and Hellboy is just one incoherent sequence after the next. It has its moments, sure, but there was nothing in this film that really felt new enough. It benefits off of modern film technology, but it didn’t differ enough from the original films to warrant a reboot. It could’ve easily been slightly re-written to fit into the series that already exists, which probably would’ve save it, even by a little.
TOTAL SCORE – 49%
Current 2019 Rankings:
Overall: 31st Place out of 51 Movies
Action: 12th Place out of 17 Movies
Adventure: 12th Place out of 15 Movies
Current Hellboy Rankings:
Last Place out of 3 Movies
PEOPLE SCORE (11/20)
Acting (2/4) | Characters (3/4) | Casting (2/4) | Importance (2/4) | Chemistry (2/4)
WRITING SCORE (2/10)
Dialogue (1/2) | Balance (0/2) | Story Depth (0/2) | Originality (0/2) | Interesting (1/2)
BEHIND-THE-SCENES SCORE (8/10)
Visuals (2/2) | Cinematography (2/2) | Editing (1/2) | Advertising (2/2) | Music & Sound (1/2)
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE (6/10)
Introduction (2/2) | Inciting Incident (1/2) | Obstacles (1/2) | Climax (1/2) | Resolution (1/2)
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (2/10)
Rewatchability (0/2) | Fun Experience (1/2) | Impulse to Buy or Own (0/2) | Impulse to Talk About or Recommend (0/2) | Engaging & Riveting (1/2)
SPECIALTY SCORE (20/40)
Hellboy Character (5/10) | Remake (5/10) | Action (5/10) | Halfway Decent (5/10)