Monday, June 29, 2009

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
2008. Rated PG-13, 110 minutes.
Director: Guillermo Del Toro.
Starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss, Jeffrey Tambor.




Plot: Prince Nuada (Goss) is upset with the way the world has turned out in his absence. He seeks to unite all the pieces of a magical crown which will spring the dormant, yet "indestructible" Golden Army into action under his control so he can start running things. Hellboy (Perlman) and crew have something to say about this.

The Good: Director Del Toro builds upon his Pan's Labyrinth foundation by giving us more stunning visuals. It's creatures and other special fx are beautifully rendered. The action scenes that show off this aspect of the film are very nicely done. In fact, its a much better looking movie than it's predecessor. The love story between Hellboy and Liz (Blair) goes in an interesting direction. It also leaves the two characters with an obvious starting point for the third movie in the series, should they make one.

The Bad: In only the franchise's second movie, it already suffers from "more is less" syndrome. We get more great characters, both good and evil, better special fx and lots of action. However, its crammed into a package 20 minutes shorter than the original. That means its fun while its on but not nearly as gratifying as the original. It doesn't help that it simply reworks The Lord of the Rings to fit a superhero flick for its main premise and resorts to corny sight gags for the humor. Worse than that, our hero is going through an identity crisis. However, its not in that good, tortured mentality of Batman sort of way. Its in that bad, the writers don't seem like they know what to do with him way. One of my problems with the first movie was how Hellboy seemed so much like Wolverine. I would've preferred that to what he is here, an even more simpleminded goofball. He's also well on his way to becoming an alcoholic. That could be really interesting but they just played it for laugh. Hmmm...anything to get more kids in the theater, right?

The Ugly: The tooth fairies. Yeesh, nasty little critters.

Recommendation: Obviously, fans of the comic and/or the first film should check it out. Most people seem to like this one a bit more. I like it a bit less. No doubt, it is a fun popcorn flick that looks absolutely great. Of the five big superhero flicks of 2008, I'd rank this fourth, far behind The Dark Knight and Iron Man but sandwiched between The Incredible Hulk and Hancock.

The Opposite View: Michael Dance, The Cinema Source

What the Internet Says: 7.4/10 on imdb.com (6/29/09), 88% on rottentomatoes.com, 78/100 on metacritic.com

MY SCORE: 6/10

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