Comic book movies remain the big fashion of the era, utilizing big budgets to bring the world of literature to life in ways the fanbase never imagined. With DC and Marvel combatting for supremacy, the independent studios are still trying to work their way in and get some publicity themselves. The first two installments of this movie held their own charms, but are a little outdated and thus comes this weekend’s flick in the form of a modern update of the dark, mercenary comic. Robbie K back with another review as we look at:
Movie: Hellboy (2019)
Most of the Acting
Hellboy requires some people ready to go in the darker parts of the superhero world, and the cast did a good job for the most part. David Harbour brings some new life to the role, bringing the sarcasm of Hellboy with some broader emotion than Perlman did a while back. Ian McShane does his work in the executive director role, playing that tough father figure that is always the guiding light to the demon’s moral compass quite well. My favorite though was Sasha Lane, who took the complex role of Alice and unleashed it to its full potential of the awkward time in awkward circumstances. The chemistry between Harbour and the group is astounding, fun and much of the light in this wave of darkness.
Other factors that I enjoyed include comedy that is fun, well delivered lines and some semi-slapstick that left me impressed with the wit that was behind it. The laughs were used well, balanced in the grand scheme of the story without becoming the central focus, which I applaud. The action components also use the comedy to make for some more engaging fights, and Hellboy makes the effort to help keep action scenes dynamic and different. My favorite fight was the end battle, which held more of the adrenaline-fueled insanity that makes me fist pump in excitement. This action leads to a pace that works well in comic book movies, and Hellboy does not drag too long like some of the other super flicks have hit sometimes. In addition, the musical score manages to support and life to the mix as well, with both orchestral and regular songs to spice things up in their high energy fashion.
Yet, the biggest positive for me is the costumes and settings of the world. The makeup artists and CGI guys accomplished the goals of bringing 2-D images to life, crafting devilish monsters, nightmare inducing creatures, and savage creations that fit quite well in the hellion universe. Hellboy’s cast of interesting characters are equipped to look the part, and while not consistent, they for the most part hold the attributes needed to make the world of Hellboy come to life. The various organizations and fortresses are crafted to represent the world as well, props, uniforms, and various other components that mirror the worlds crafted by the Dark Horse Comics authors and illustrators.
Mila Jovovich’s character
The Lack of Focus
The Aggressive Graphicness
The acting was fine for the most part and Jovovich does a fine job acting as she always does. However, this character they crafted was not quite the same denizen of darkness I love in this series. This blood queen had some scarring moments, but she was not quite the threatening image I wanted to see unleashed in the film. Her direction was more overdramatic delivery and singular speeches rather than a well-built character for us to either love or hate. The result was a weaker antagonist to stand against for the nearly 2 hour run time. It’s that overdramatic flair at other components that takes precipice, which takes away from the overall movie rather than add, the grandiose nature a little annoying at times.
In regards to the story, Hellboy is trying to cram a lot of arcs into a small run time, trying to take the mini-series approach without the mini-series time table. This rendition holds a lot of introductions into the world of the big armed demon, including father introduction, friend introductions, prophecies, rivalry establishment, and more. All these factors are rapidly developed, giving little time, obstacles, or suspense that these stories requires, leading to flat storytelling that held such promise. It’s the lack of focus in these things that makes the movie okay, but not truly great.
Finally, the aggressive visuals and sounds may also be quite overwhelming given the preference of the audience. In regards to sounds, this movie is very loud, and those with sensitive ears will need to brings some barriers to reduce the impact of the cacophony of sounds that rush in to avoid ears ringing. Visual wise, again the movie’s CGI group has applied their skills in the way fitting of a dark comic book series like this. However, they may have done too good of a job as the blood, gore, and sinew dribbles like rain in this movie. Hellboy’s focus is very much geared towards filling the silver screen with as much maiming as possible, bringing some disturbing imagery to embed itself into your memory. Sometimes, this worked for me very well, but other times it was unnecessary, merely blatant attempts to raise the shock factor another few notches. If that’s the kind of visuals you want in this kind of film, then you will want to flock to the theaters and catch it in high definition goodness.
Overall, Hellboy is not a bad movie as many have said, but it didn’t deliver on the potential crafted in the trailers. Some good visuals, comedy, and fast paced action were good starts in terms of getting the comic vibe up, but the movie itself just doesn’t have all the finesse it needed like the bigger studios have done in the past. We needed some focus on the story, some bigger suspense added to the mix, and more importantly finding that balance to extend the movie into a series rather than in one movie. Perhaps a series would be the next step to better presentations, but for now, this movie has a lot of special effects to make a theater visit worthy, but with other super hero films coming or still in theaters, you are best left to waiting or attending these.
My scores are:
Movie Overall:: 5.5