Wisecracking, demonic antihero Hellboy returns in the dark and gritty reboot, this time helmed by director Neil Marshall.
Guillermo del Toro served as writer-director of the first two films based on the Mike Mignola graphic novels, starring Ron Perlman. In this reboot, the Hellboy torch is passed to David Harbour, who carries the fiery titular role with cool confidence.
The actor leaves behind his hat as Stranger Things police chief and pulls off the often-annoyed, hard-drinking, half-demon as if second nature. The deadpan humor oozing from Hellboy is clearly different from Perlman’s version. Harbour makes the character his own.
The film opens with a flashback to the Dark Ages, when King Arthur and Merlin betray the powerful immortal witch Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich), who simply wanted humans and monsters to co-exist peacefully. They literally slice her into bits — in all her g(l)ory — and ship her pieces all over Britain.
Cut to present day and our very own Hellboy is introduced. He lives on Earth with his father-figure, Professor Broom (Ian McShane), fighting supernatural bad guys for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.
When one of Hellboy’s enemies decides to put back the pieces of dismembered Nimue, things don’t look too good for the good guys. Hellboy and Professor Broom team up with Alice (Sasha Lane) and Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) to kick butt and save the world from doom.
I really enjoyed watching this darker, grittier and much more gory version of Hellboy. It stays true to the comics and the action sequences are larger than life — like our antihero itself. The stunning visuals, especially during the fight scene with the giants, are particularly noteworthy.
When it comes to reboots, we tend to compare to the original. When we’re looking at a blazing world that was originally created by famed director del Toro, there’s no doubt that the original films will always stand out. However, fans will appreciate this darker reboot, which paints a different picture of Hellboy.
Harbour infuses soul into a half-demon who is not only facing external battles, but internal conflicts as well. This version of Hellboy is soulful and relatable, and I appreciate the humanity that Harbour brings to the role of an outsider who doesn’t feel like he belongs. It’s honest, sincere and entertaining.
Blood-spitting, gore galore and action-packed scenes are right up the alley for fans of the franchise. There’s a certain niche audience for these kinds of films, and fans of the comics and of previous films can count on one hell of a roller-coaster ride. After all, hell hath no fury like a fan scorned.
If you have seen the film and would like to review it, click here. Also, click here to watch our interview with David Harbour, and click here for our red carpet coverage with Harbour and Milla Jovovich. ~Marriska Fernandes