Hellboy II: The Golden Army
"This is once again directed by Guillermo del Toro who wrote the script, and was helped by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, who helped him come up with the story for this one."— Bryan Lomax
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (stylized as HELLBoY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY) is a 2008 American superhero film based on the fictional character Hellboy created by Mike Mignola. The film was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro and is a sequel to the 2004 film Hellboy, which del Toro also directed. Ron Perlman reprises his starring role as the eponymous character. Hellboy II: The Golden Army was released by Universal Pictures.
During Christmas 1955, a young Hellboy is told a bedtime story by his adoptive father, Trevor Bruttenholm, of an ancient war between human and magical creatures. After the magical creatures are driven back by the humans, the goblin blacksmiths extend an offer to Balor, king of the elves, to build him an indestructible mechanical army. Encouraged by his son Prince Nuada, Balor accepts; the Golden Army subsequently devastates humanity. Regretting his actions, Balor forms a truce with the humans, that they will keep to the cities and the magical creatures to the forests. The crown to command the Golden Army, which can only be worn by one of royal blood, is split into three pieces. Nuada, disagreeing with the truce, leaves in exile.
In the present, Nuada returns and begins gathering the pieces of the crown. He collects the first piece from an auction, unleashing tooth fairies, voracious flying creatures that eat the crowd alive, and kills his father for the second piece. His twin sister Princess Nuala escapes with the final piece.
Meanwhile, at the B.P.R.D., Hellboy is having issues with his girlfriend Liz, and dislikes that their organization must operate in secrecy. Investigating the auction slaughter, Hellboy allows himself to be revealed to the world. In the commotion, Abe Sapien discovers Liz is pregnant but she swears him to secrecy.
Furious at Hellboy's actions, Tom Manning's superiors send the ectoplasmic medium Johann Krauss to rein him in. With Krauss in charge, the team tracks the tooth fairies to a secret market under the Brooklyn Bridge. Abe finds Nuala, who has obtained a map leading to the Golden Army, and falls in love with her. Hellboy fights and kills Nuada's accomplice Wink and an elemental forest god that Nuada summons against him. During the fight, Nuada questions why he fights for the humans when they have driven the magical creatures into hiding, of which he too is one. Nuala is taken under the B.P.R.D.'s protection.
Nuada tracks his sister to the B.P.R.D. headquarters using their magical bond, which causes them to share wounds and read each other's thoughts. Nuala hides the final crown piece before Nuada finds her, and he battles Hellboy. Nuada critically wounds Hellboy with his spear and abducts Nuala, promising her return in exchange for the crown piece. Unable to remove the spear shard in his wound, Liz and Abe decide to take Hellboy to the Golden Army's location in the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Krauss comes along, as he sympathizes with Liz, revealing that he too lost his wife in the accident that caused the loss of his own body.
They encounter the Bethmoora goblin master blacksmith who brings them before the Angel of Death to retrieve the spear shard. Though warned that Hellboy will doom humanity if he lives and that she will suffer the most from it, Liz pleads for Hellboy's life. The Angel removes the shard from Hellboy's chest and tells Liz to give him a reason to live. She reveals to Hellboy that he will be a father and he recovers.
The goblin leads the team to the resting place of the Golden Army, where Nuada awaits them. Abe gives him the last piece of the crown, and Nuada awakens the Golden Army and commands them to kill the team. Hellboy challenges Nuada for the right to command the army; as Hellboy is a member of Hell's royal family, Nuada must accept the challenge. Hellboy defeats Nuada and spares his life, but Nuada tries stabbing him. Nuala commits suicide to stop her brother; the dying Nuada tells Hellboy he will have to choose whether humanity or magical beings must die. Abe psychically shares his feelings with Nuala before she dies. Liz uses her pyrokinesis to melt the crown, deactivating the Golden Army.
Hellboy, Liz, Abe, and Johann resign from the B.P.R.D., and Hellboy contemplates his future life with Liz and their baby. Liz corrects "babies", revealing that she is pregnant with twins.
- Once again, it's still not faithful to the source material. Except, it now wants to act like an action comedy rather than a superhero movie, making it even worse than the last time.
- Seen in the first film, Hellboy has feelings for Liz Sherman, and he succeeds by kissing her while on fire. He tries so hard to appeal to her and even almost congratulates John Myers for bringing her back to the BPRD. In this film, for whatever reason, Liz now hates Hellboy while Hellboy constantly gets her into an abusive relationship., meaning every effort he put to build a relationship meant absolutely nothing.
- While the CGI is an improvement of the last film, it's still dull for 2008 standards. In fact, there's an animated segment at the beginning that looks like a late PlayStation 2 cutscene.
- The main antagonist, Nauda, is generic. He is your typical "father casts him out and comes back for revenge" type of villain, who's also just power-hungry for the sake of being such.
- As a comedy, it's not really that funny.
- Most of the "humor" is Hellboy abusing Liz in their relationship, and it treats that like a joke.
- A shameless attempt to advertise the song Can't Smile Without You by Barry Manillow by having Hellboy and Abe Sapien drunkly singing it.
- Hellboy literally breaks Krauss's body, with revenge being slammed by locker doors. That, too, is treating as a joke.
- Just like the last film, it relies a lot on expedition over explanation (it's not a big issue unlike the previous, though). Because of this, it adds Krauss, a ghost inside of a suit, whose only motivation is to overprotect Hellboy from doing any trouble. Because, it forms "comedy" over Hellboy and him hating each other until Hellboy's near-death experience where he just goes into "okay, let's break the rules because screw the BPRD" mode.
- If anything, it does basically anything to form "comedy," which is a problem considering Hellboy was never a comedy comic book series to begin with.
- The final fight scene. While it starts out with a decent action scene involving Hellboy and his crew fighting off the Golden Army, it then declines when Nauda challenges Hellboy, with his response saying "I'm going to kick his ass." Surely enough, he does kick his ass, nearly even without getting touched, which shows this movie was trying to portray him as a god-like creature. Hellboy may be hard to defeat, but going as far as to make nearly immortal? That's too much. But that's not it, predictably, Hellboy defeats Nauda, but instead of killing him for his crimes, he just takes the crown. Not like it matters, because he dies very anti-climatically by his sister committing suicide for him to feel the pain. Because of her death, he turns into a gold statue and dies, and that's it, that's how the film literally ends!
- Followed by that, Hellboy and his crew quit the BPRD, and Liz confirms to having twins, baiting a sequel that never happened and instead, a reboot happened.
- It's an improvement of the last film in many ways, including its CGI, a bit more explanation, and the action scenes (despite the final fight) being more fun than usual.
- The soundtrack that was performed by Danny Elfman was pretty good.
- Amazing performances from Ron Perlman, Seth McFarlane, Selma Blair, Luke Goss, Doug Jones, and other actors.
- The cinematography is still decent.
- The poster shows Hellboy punching down the ground looks amazing.
- Suck my ectoplasmic Schwanzstücke!
Hellboy II: The Golden Army received positive reviews from critics, but received more mixed reactions from audiences and fans. Although many saw it better than the last film, many still found it "unfaithful" and dismissed it.
Box office performance ($168 million worldwide), relative to a budget of about $80 million, was underwhelming.