Hellboy II Review

There are three types of comic book movies.  The “Blockbuster” that takes its source material and adapts it for the screen, “The Living Comic” which does its best to recreate a comic book on the big screen, and the third is “The Unknown Source” a movie based on a comic that no one knows is a comic.  Hellboy II squarely falls into the second category.

Directed and written Guillermo del Toro, the movie is adapted from the comics created by Mike Mignola.  I never really got into the comic book series but especially enjoyed the first movie.  The second film takes a much more tongue in cheek and light hearted approach than the first playing up comedic elements.  It’s more Men in Black in it’s feel than it’s original.  This isn’t a bad thing, but at times the comedic tone didn’t fit the magical world del Toro has created.

Direction:  When it comes to fantasy and creatures Guillermo del Toro is the undisputed master right now.  The costumes and mix of live people, amazing makeup, and a little CGI was perfect.  George Lucas needs to see this man and learn what made the original Star Wars so special.  del Toro has created a world of beauty even in the scary and disturbing.  After a monster is killed a luscious garden is created sending up a fantasy world that reminded me on 80’s works such as Labrynth and the Dark Crystal. To me this is the magic of the movie.  The plot is ok and entertaining but to see this vision brought to the screen is a gift and something special.  A living and breathing magical world you almost wish were real.  I now can only imagine what del Toro will bring to the Hobbit, and I hope he sticks to his talents and away from CGI.

Acting:  The actors were all fine.  A great mix of comedic and serious elements you could tell everyone was having fun and a team feeling came through.  There weren’t any real standout performances but overall everyone was excellent in their parts.

Plot:  The movie continues the comic movie  as a political statement movement and has a tinge of environmental activism as the magical creatures decide to rise up against the humans who are destroying the world.  The plot feels like a nice change up from the Nazi’s and demons of the first movie and shows there’s a lot more of a fantasy aspect to Hellboy.

Overall:  A worthy follow up to the original movie and I hope will eventually lead to a third if nothing else to see what del Toro will do next.  It’s entertaining popcorn fun that you can go, have some popcorn and turn off your brain.  I think I’ll pick up a couple of the trade paperbacks to see if the comic source is as fun as the movies I enjoy.

Top comic movies of 2008 so far:

1) The Dark Knight

2) Iron Man

3) The Incredible Hulk

4) Hellboy II

5) Wanted