Aug 2

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Category: Reviews

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before but I’m consistenly annoyed with movies that rely on style over substance. Hellboy II is extremely stylish, presenting a troll/faery world that is a feast for the eyes and impressive creature design displayed with good quality CGI. But there is also a genuinely compelling story to go along with the cool aesthetics! I will even go so far as to say that I prefer this movie over the first Hellboy film. Helps that the first Hellboy was nothing special but still, sequels rarely improve upon their predecessors. The first Hellboy was an origin story and focused mostly on the titular character, which is fine except that his sidekicks weren’t given much to do. No such problem here. The aqua guy has a proper little story arc of his own and the fire girl in particular becomes much more relevant this time around.

But for me, the best part of Hellboy II is the bad guy. I love, love, love stories that make me sympathise with the villain. And it’s not what you’re thinking. I don’t like villains because I’m evil and want to see the world destroyed (although…), I like villains that aren’t really bad, they’re just drawn that way. They are not evil for the sake of being evil, they have a cause and it makes sense and even though it doesn’t jive with predominant cultural norms it is still righteous in its own way. Now Hellboy’s Prince Pastyface isn’t nearly as cool as the Joker from Batman (in fact the main baddy is sort of meh) but the race he represents is highly interesting and I found myself rooting for them in earnest. In fact my only complaint with the film is that I don’t think any of the characters showed enough sympathy for the supposed villains.

There were a few cliches at play in Hellboy II but nothing to piss me off. And if a film manages to not anger or offend me, then it’s a success. But when it also leaves me enjoying myself and hoping for more (I eagerly await Part III) then it earns a 4 niquehead rating. [rating:40]


6 Comments so far

  1. KingCasey August 3rd, 2008 12:47 pm

    Excellent. I enjoyed the first movie, but thought it lacked substance. Other than a love of immortality and Hitler there didn’t seem to be much driving the bad guys. I’m looking forward to seeing the second installment.

    Origin stories are good and all, but they’re best rushed through, I think a lot of these comic book series will peak in episodes 2 or 3, then start to fall off.

  2. Nique August 3rd, 2008 4:07 pm

    I normally enjoy origin stories, as I did with Batman Begins and I think Spider-Man did it well too. But in this case I prefer the sequel.

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