100 Days of Superheroes- Day 73: Hellboy The Golden Army
The story makes sense this time...but the characters don't.
“You’re greatest weakness is your anger.”
Guiermo Del Toro returns to the Hellboy franchise with the second film of the series. Where the first film introduced the characters, background and emotional conflict, Hellboy 2 takes the similar route of the second Blade movie. Characters are scrapped in favor of more action scenes and a more tightly scripted plot. In this case however, the results are not altogether positive.
One of my biggest issues with the first film was that the plot felt a little too convoluted at times. The villains motivation was foggy, and their general scheme a little overly complex. Here the main central story at least feels more centered and understandable.
You have a villain who thinks humans are a bunch of scumbags and wants to kill them all by uniting three pieces of a crown and awakening an indestructible golden army. Pretty straight forward. Meanwhile Hellboy and his band of misfits have to try and stop him while protecting the kingdoms princess.
The film undoubtedly weaves a lot more of the fantasy elements into the story than the first movie did. You get things like hidden Harry Potter-like market places, entire elvish civilizations, and more.
The main characters all return again, even John Hurt as Hellboy’s father in a silly, corny flashback scene. Most of the actors do a great job again. Ron Pearlman is still a fantastic Hellboy and seems like he has a blast in the roll. He is as likable as ever. Unfortunately for being the center of the story, he doesn’t have much conflict besides trying to beat up the bad guys and the occasional lovers spat with his girlfriend.
Speaking of which, the character of Liz really had almost nothing to do in the film. She appears every now and then to argue with Hellboy but contributes close to nothing in terms of action, and the plot. Her main purpose is to tick Hellboy off at times and provide momentum to a subplot that goes nowhere. Even in the climax when everyone is fighting, she stands in the corner and does…..well, I have no idea. Nothing I guess.
Abe Sapien is the one with a much-enlarged role. Where he was probably the smallest part out of the three in the original here he provides a story with little emotion with at least something to care about as he becomes close with the princess and conflicted on doing the right thing or saving her. The romance isn’t played out great but it at least gave some interesting character motivation shifts. Then again how interesting can a romance between an elf chick and a fish be?
The movie also adds in the new character of Kraus who becomes the new leader of the team, replacing Hellboy’s dead pops. He’s actually a fun character and adds a new dimension to the team as the others have to get used to following his lead and it adds some tension where you don’t know how this “by the books” character will react in some situations.
The main villain, Prince Nuada, is interesting enough to provide dramatic momentum. He is a banished prince trying to awaken a slumbering army. A lot of the stunts and fights scenes with him where probably the best in the film. His relationship to his sister though is what really makes him interesting as if either one of them is wounded or killed, so will the other one. This makes stopping him a little more complicated.
Similar to the first film the movie relies a lot on comedy and unfortunately a lot of it feels a little forced this time around. Especially the scene where Hellboy and Abe get drunk together then creepily talk about liz over her bed while she’s sleeping.
Overall Hellboy 2 gives a lot of spectacular action scenes and a more coherent villain goal, but it really loses footing in the characters. The movie feels almost emotionless at times and I struggled to find something to care about on a personal level with these various character. The short subplots that lasted about five minutes were not enough to hold my attention. To top it off the film kind of fizzles out awkwardly to a head scratcher ending.
FINAL RATING: 6/10- (60%)
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