Hellboy 2 - The Golden Army: Movie Review
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones
Director: Guillermo del Toro
They're a curious beast - for every Empire Strikes Back and Two Towers,
there's a Grease 2, Speed 2 or Matrix Revolutions waiting in the wings to sully
the memory of the brilliance of the first film.
So it's a relief for me, as a comic book geek, to report that despite the
multitude of plaudits for director Guillermo del Toro in the four years since
the first Hellboy, this latest outing Hellboy 2: The Golden Army continues to
build and improve on the original film.
However, that's not to say it's without fault.
As the film opens, Hellboy (played as wonderfully as ever by Ron Perlman) is
battling domestic demons - rather than the usual fairytale ones.
Since the first film, ole Red has shacked up with his girlfriend, the
pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (played by Selma Blair) and is fighting the paranormal
with the help of the undercover organisation he was recruited into.
But, he's finding it difficult to live with the love of his life - and he is
in constant conflict with his boss (an outstanding performance from Jeffrey
Tambor) who is trying desperately to keep their world saving activities quiet
rather than have their behaviour publically splashed across the media and
Things take a turn for the worse when Prince Nuada (played by Luke Goss of
Blade 2 and UK boyband fame) starts his quest to seize control of a mythical
army which could destroy the world.
And so, Hellboy has to put to one side the problems of his own little world
so that he can start trying to save the real world.
In some ways, director Guillermo del Toro has done a great job with the
second film; he's built on the wonderful visual effects displayed in the first
film four years ago.
The fantasy world is wonderfully realized through a myriad of delightfully
weird on screen creatures (as you'd come to expect from the man who won such
plaudits for Pan's Labyrinth). Del Toro has made the fantasy world and its
inhabitants feel so normal that you actually forget to look at whether it's CGI
or live action models.
But, at the same time, somewhere, he seems to have lost his way a little.
The plot of Hellboy 2 is, at times, slow and weak - and those in charge of
writing it seem to have jettisoned some of the chances which could have seen
some real meat for Perlman's Hellboy character.
During one spectacular action sequence, when faced with a creature intent on
destroying part of downtown New York, Hellboy is tormented by the fact that this
creature he has to kill is the last of its kind.
He agonises over whether to destroy it and protect the human world which is
starting to despise him or acknowledge his true nature as an outsider and let it
kill everything in its path.
Another weak point is the ending of the film - it's a major disappointment
that after a dazzling fight scene and with our heroes facing insurmountable
odds, it's almost as if del Toro decided it would be easier to throw together a
weak ending; and what should have been a highly emotional denouement is simply a
Although having said that, there are plenty of hints that another film is on
the way - with Hellboy's future looking pretty bleak - as well as the entire
Comic book geeks and teens will love Hellboy 2 - but others may struggle to
find the kind of mass appeal that other films like Spiderman 2 and The Two
Towers proffered up to the masses.