Hellboy (2004)

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Hellboy
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It was the time of the early 2000s where people wanted that sweet success from what Marvel and DC were doing with their comic book movies, forgetting what the latter did that made it succesful. And Hellboy was no different.
Genre: Supernatural
Action
Drama
Directed By: Guillermo Del Toro
Written By: Guillermo Del Toro
Starring: Ron Perlman
Selma Blair
Jeffrey Tambor
Karel Roden
Rupert Evans
John Hurt
Photography: Guillermo Navarro
Distributed By: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: March 30, 2004 (Mann Village Theater)
April 2, 2004 (United States)
Runtime: 122 minutes
Country: United States
Sequel: Hellboy II: The Golden Army


Hellboy is a 2004 American, superhero black comedy-drama film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Perlman, loosely based on the Dark Horse Comics graphic novel by Mike Mignola. In the film, a demonic beast-turned superhero known as Hellboy, secretly works to keep the world safe from paranormal threats with his team, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense.

Plot

Towards the end of WWII, the Nazis resort to black magic and conjure a demonic-looking being called Hellboy. But the Allies capture him and he grows up to fight against evil rather than for it.

Bad Qualities

  1. It derives heavily from the source material, just making itself feel like an edgy comic book movie trying to tie in others like Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies or the X-Men movies. At least THOSE have charm and fun parts, this here is just too dark for the sake of it.
  2. Most of the characters either are poorly-written or have their characterizations butchered:
    • Hellboy is a generic badass who cracks jokes at inappropriate times.
    • At times, he acts a little mean-spirited, to where he nearly kills a BPRD member for being insulted.
    • Liz Sherman, having potential of a good superhero, is portrayed as a shy girl who continuously gets anxious whenever she is at an uncomfortable moment. And because of this, she burns. Even worse, she is depicted as a badass in the movie poster, but in the movie, it's the literal opposite.
    • Abe Sapien barely does anything to the plot, despite being an important character in the comics.
    • Rasputin is a generic "I'm going to destroy the world because I'm evil" villain.
    • It introduces John Myers, who does nothing to the plot. The only way that this movie makes him feel important is by making him watch over Hellboy to make sure he doesn't get any trouble. To push it further, they create a love triangle using him, Hellboy, and Liz. Predictably, Hellboy wins Liz and makes John a loser.
  3. It relies too much on expedition rather than explanation considering that it introduces so many characters to fill in the plot, but afterwards, they become so unimportant and underutilized to where if you write them out of the plot, there would be little effect to the story. Karl Ruprect Kroenen and Abe Sapien are both great examples of this.
  4. Awful CGI and special effects that look horrendously fake and ugly, comparable to Fant4stic.
  5. Plot-holes:
    • For whatever reason, Professor Broom is very strict about Hellboy going out in public and being caught, yet when Hellboy gets caught with Liz in an asylum, he doesn't get in any trouble.
    • Rasputin is seen being sucked into space at the very beginning, but is somehow magically revived by cutting someone's throat.
    • Hellboy's love for cats was never explained, and for some reason, still isn't.
    • The whole point of Rasputin's "destroy-the-world" plan is to spawn some kind of monster, but only to remember only Hellboy can spawn it, using his right hand of doom. If anything, how did he know that fact to begin with? And from the start, can't he just repeat what he did in 1942?
    • You can make Hellboy good again by showing the power of Christ. Yes, that actually happens in this movie.
  6. While the action scenes are entertaining, one of them happens literally because Hellboy has to rescue a box of kittens, while fighting off a hellhound. There was no need for that, at all.
  7. Loads of padding and filler that takes up too much time.

Good Qualities

  1. Ron Perlman is perfectly cast as and plays an amazing role of the titular character, and his make-up suits it very well.
  2. The action scenes are pretty good.
  3. While the characters, including Hellboy himself, are far from perfect compared to the original source material, they are somewhat likable for what they are and some of their characterization are done right. For example, Hellboy himself, despite being a generic badass that cracks jokes, is still loyal to his friends and his adoptive father Professor Broom (and even griefed his death since he cared about him the most and even he couldn't attend the funeral because he couldn't even see his own adoptive father in the funeral) and even Professor Broom is still a well-meaning adoptive father of Hellboy.
  4. Professor Broom's death is rather heartbreaking to watch, considered of how well-executed it was.
  5. To be fair, Guillermo del Toro did actually give himself a good direction, which is probably the big highlight of this movie. He knew what he was doing, and hired people he got along with (this was before Mike Mignola turned rotten and became an executive meddler). If it wasn't that, this film would've failed.
  6. This, it's only sequel, and Blood and Iron tried to stay more faithful to it's comics than the 2019 reboot of the same name.

Reception

At debut, it received generally positive reviews from critics and later received mixed-to-positive reviews by fans who praised Ron Pearlman's performance, action scenes, del Toro's direction, and faithfulness to the source material, but criticized for its tone, plot, and awful CGI and special-effects, deeming a 65% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.8 on IMDb. Nowadays, the film became "mediocre" and actually became one of the most underrated or overrated films ever made. It has an 81% critic on Rotten Tomatoes and a 70 on Metacritic. Due to the film's unsatisfactory, despite successful box office performance, Guillermo del Toro had to hand the sequel's distribution rights to Universal Pictures.

People, notably WatchMojo, have blindly praised it as the "glory days" and forced del Toro to make a third film even though it was cancelled, which lead to massive criticism.

YouTuber Lukimus Prime regards this movie as an underrated superhero movie and rates it 9/10.

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