With the birth of our daughter over the summer, I was a little too busy to go see Hellboy II: The Golden Army in the theatre, and boy, after watching the DVD, I wish we’d gotten a babysitter!
While I enjoyed the first Hellboy, I found it a little too mired in the occult and Nazis while failing to find a clear, confident voice. Hellboy II did not suffer such soul-searching – it knew exactly who it wanted to be.
Writer/Director Guillermo Del Toro brought his vision and voice to Hellboy more completely than the first film and created a hugely entertaining story full of fantasy and charm. This Hellboy had all-out action, incredibly intricate costumes and special effects, a fairly tight plot, great characterization, true moments of tangible emotion, and a genuine sense of humor and quick wit.
I appreciated the contemporary fantasy direction the film took using trolls, elves, fairies, and all sorts of mythological creatures and placing them firmly in our modern-day world. I loved that Hellboy’s supporting characters got more face time, and the inclusion of the magnificently charismatic Johann Krauss was a testament to superb voice and kinetic acting. Additionally, each actor had a much firmer grip on their character and therefore delivered far more believable performances. There were scenes in this movie that never, ever should have worked (such as a Hellboy-Abe Sapien duet), but they did, and they were spectacular. The relationship between Hellboy and Liz seemed much more authentic as well, and therefore created a far more convincing love story than the last installment.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army held the kind of magical sense of wonder and fun that I’ve longed for in a science fiction/fantasy film. Furthermore, the fact it didn’t take itself too seriously and readily injected some hilarious, even campy, moments made it all the more endearing.
Haven’t seen the first Hellboy? No matter. You can watch Hellboy II without missing a beat and I recommend you do if you’d like to see a delightfully made, wildly entertaining fantasy.