Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Hellboy 2) Reviews
[Guillermo del Toro]
I forgive a lot of flaws, though, when I'm enjoying a film this much. The visuals are simply stunning in Hellboy II. Del Toro is a master with these otherworldly creatures, and the makeup and prosthetics he includes in this film are unbelievable. I feel transported to another world throughout the entire film and yet it all makes some kind of sense to me. There is also some CGI used in the movie, but it works and blends almost seamlessly with the practical effects. I also appreciated how unique the characters are so they are easy to follow in the action sequences.
The action is amazing. I love the blend of gunplay, magical powers, and straight-up fisticuffs. It got me excited every time there was a brawl, and I even found myself laughing at times with glee. The climactic battle was so great I was grinning from ear to ear, particularly when Johann Krauss started to show what he could do. I just wish I cared more about these characters beyond what they do in a fight. They try to weave in some romantic stuff and that fell flat for me. Also they do a few things that seem intended to hit us emotionally and that didn't even make me think about tearing up. Hellboy II was just a mixed bag for me. It was well-made and fun to watch, but could have been truly great with a little more tweaking.
This has a lot more story to it and was much more engaging as a result. It does have a few weaknesses though. The script is a little silly and the characters are still a bit 2-dimensional, even with the obvious attempts at emotional arcs (the forced love Sapien love connection) and dealing with 'unique' issues of adversity (public hating the supes). The humourous tone is still present and this still works a treat, but Del Toro's writing overall is not too strong on this film, unlike some of his others.
However, what we always have come to expect from him (and this delivers in spades) is a visual treat. The art design is beautiful and the action scenes are frenetic and spectacular. There are stand out moments of wonderful design throughout (see the Forest Elemental) and Del Toro has a genuine talent to bring so many wonderous yet believable creatures to life on screen. Perlman is great once again as Hellboy and is very comfortable with this character. Luke Goss also does well and pulls off another decent turn as a bad guy.
I enjoyed the film, as I do love visuals and am always happy to revel in the obscure, colourful toy box that is Del Toro's mind....but I do feel it needed a lot more polishing in other key areas, and this inevitably lets the film down as a whole...