Director – Guillermo del Toro
Cast – Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, John Alexander, James Dodd, Seth MacFarlane(voice), Luke Goss, Anna Walton, Jeffrey Tambor, John Hurt, Brian Steele
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy remains one of my favorite superhero movies to date, and while he outdid himself with his follow-up film, Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro continued his Hellboy saga with Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The last time I had seen this film was when it debuted in theaters back in 2008, so I was itching to see if this film was as fun as I remembered it to be…and it was. Continuing the awesome elements of the first entry, this sequel is equally as enjoyable as its predecessor, and comes with some good horror action as well.
When a long-standing truce between mankind and the mythical creatures of our underworld is compromised by a vengeful elf, Prince Nauda(Luke Goss), Hellboy(Ron Perlman; Alien: Resurrection, The City of Lost Children, Cronos) and his team must combat the elf and his minions before he resurrects the most powerful weapon of all time…The Golden Army, an army of indestructible robots banished to a faraway place to never be used again. As Hellboy aims to stop the elf and save humanity once a gain, he learns of humanity’s ingratitude towards him and the other “freaks” he works with, leaving him to fight for a world that now despises him.
I knew that I was going to enjoy this film going into it the very first time I saw it, leaving Guillermo del Toro(Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Cronos, Mimic, Blade II) as one of the few directors that I completely trust to give me a good watch every time. This time the storyline takes a few more twists and turns, which is usually the case with a sequel given the original film must spend its runtime setting up the story. I really loved the idea of the Golden Army in this film, and the background history involving the truce between the humans and the mythical beings that surround them in secrecy. The dialogue between all of the characters involved is fantastic, and definitely aids in selling the film to the viewer and assisting the pacing for this nearly two hour film. We get numerous twists, turns, and developments as well, which come in all angles including Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz, as well as a new and unique character, Robert Krauss(voiced by “Family Guy”’s Seth McFarlane). All in all, the storyline is great, but what else would you expect from an iconic writer?
As expected, del Toro’s direction is top-notch, and he expertly sells each scene with unique visuals and awesome camerawork. The production value for the film is very high, and the CGI used is incredibly well done. Surprisingly, some of the scenes that I thought were CGI were actually half CGI and half live-action, which I was astounded to learn given just how hard it must have been to film those scenes with the live-action actions involved. We get some incredible looking characters and villains, which only add to the viewer’s enjoyment of what is going on before them. As a child del Toro spent many years creating monsters and goblins with pen and paper, so it comes as no surprise to me that he would give us such cool looking creatures to marvel at. As with the first film, we get great performances from all those involved, especially that lovable red beast we call Hellboy. Ron Perlman’s return to the series came as no surprise to me, because I figure that despite the hours of make-up work it takes to “become” Hellboy, he loves the hell out of that character. This being a sequel, the film is able to take off quicker due to it not having to introduce the characters all over again, and because of that we are introduced to more action and fight scenes. The action sequences were awesomely executed, and came with epic sets that carried many dangers of their own due to their surroundings, which only added some sweet tension to what was already going on beforehand.
Overall, this is an awesome sequel to one of the coolest superhero films out there. Guillermo del Toro once again delivers a tight screenplay that makes this near two hour film flow beautifully, and his direction is top-not as usual, giving us awesome visuals, great action, and superb execution of all elements involved.