'Hellboy' (2019) Review
'Hellboy' (2019) Review
A Mixed Bag With Huge Potential
Based on the Dark Horse Comics series by Mike Mignola of the same name, 'Hellboy' (2019) is the reboot of the beloved franchise of del Toro films from the 2000s. The movie follows the titular Cambion as he must prevent the resurrection of a centuries-old Blood Queen which will result in the end of the world. Having purposely watched this 2019 reboot before the two del Toro films or reading any other Hellboy comics, this reviewer didn't want to go into this movie with bias and purely wanted to view 'Hellboy' (2019) on its own merits of being a movie and not an adaptation. In doing so, it is believed he enjoyed the movie more.
Although this movie isn't perfect, it does feature moments of entertaining and gory violence as well as having great character design for some of the creatures, competent cinematography and interesting concepts to boot. David Harbour also does a fine job as Hellboy, elevating the material he is given into somewhat fun territory.
But sadly, that is where a lot of the positives end. The movie's "fake it til you make it" mentality with the cool and edgy tone can be hit-or-miss. When it hits, the movie is enjoyable to watch, when it misses, it can be a bore.
The writing needed more refinement, especially with the fleshing out of the one-note characters and removing the cliched dialogue.
The movie needed to be more emotionally engaging. Around a third of the way through the movie, Hellboy says "Okay, I'd appreciate a prophecy with more relatable stakes." jokingly. While the joke itself isn't funny, it is hard not to laugh at it due to the movie being unwittingly self-aware. "World domination" or "the end of the world" plots in superhero movies nowadays have become tiresome. It was somewhat intriguing back in 2012 with 'The Avengers', back that was seven years before this movie's release. The environment has changed the story, audiences want to see something new, something interesting. A side antagonist's motivations in this film were far more interesting than the main antagonist's. It is a bummer they didn't just focus on him rather than a 5th-century witch.
The story also needed to be either tighter or extended. To tell a story like this and pack in everything in 2-hours without it making it feel overstuffed is near impossible. It would have worked far better as a mini-series or a season of a TV series.
The editing needed more fine-tuned. All of the errors in that department, the pacing frequently changes from fast-paced to slow.
The CGI can be good-looking or passable at points, but those are easily forgotten due to the numerous moments that feel ripped from the depths of the Uncanny Valley and or Hell.
Is 'Hellboy' (2019) is a garbage film? Far from it! A fun performance from David Harbour and interesting concepts make this movie watchable but if it had a bit more time in the oven (in pre, during and post-production) as well as turning the story into a tv season instead of being crammed into a 121-minute runtime, they may have something excellent on their hands.