Movie Review – Hellboy (2019)

God, this movie sucks.

Let’s get this review over with.

I rarely give a movie a bad review.  After all, I’ve never made one before so any movie is better than my non-existent one, but this one is pretty bad.

The original two were great.  That was largely due to Director Guillermo Del Toro’s ability to make the scary and macabre seem beautiful.  The plots were well paced and succinct and you cared about the characters.

The reboot is garbage, like the writers weren’t sure what they wanted to do so they just threw a bunch of random crap into a blender and pushed the on switch.

It’s not just the deviation from the source material.  Though fans will be disappointed to see Abe and Liz didn’t make the cut in this one, I’d be totally willing to be cool with the franchise going in a different direction.  The problem is it went in like, 50 different directions.

David Harbour plays the titular demon gone good this time.  There’s a wrestling match with a vampire and a team of giant hunters.  The literal Alice in Wonderland and a were-cheetah are Hellboy’s companions.  There’s a ridiculous amount of exposition and large chunks of backstory are simply spoonfed.  There’s way too much telling and not enough showing.  Somehow, this all leads to a battle royale with a witch (Mila Jovovich) and a pig man.  How they are all interconnected?  Your guess is as good as mine.

I might be willing to forgive all of this.  Sometimes there are great properties that come out as steak and years later, all the studio is willing to give it is the potato chip treatment.  Potato chips are good, now and then.  At least they are tasty.

The problem is that amidst the lack of surety of which plot point the movie wants to focus on, there’s also some confusion over what it wants to be.  The entire theme is juvenile.  A big dope with filed down horns with potty humor galore.  That’s not necessarily bad, but then the F bomb is dropped with reckless abandon, often for no added effect, just because they could do it apparently.  I’m not against a good F bomb when it is timed right, but the first two put story over shock value while this one relies on swears and grossness.  At least Del Toro made the grossness beautiful.

Ultimately, it’s a simpleton movie with ghosts and goblins that is the kind of stuff that is geared toward kids but then again, it’s riddled with gratuitous cussing so you can’t take a kid to it.  This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem because shows like “True Blood” have taught us there is room for adult themed horror but the problem is the movie is so dumb that the adults who can handle the swearing aren’t going to enjoy it.  It’s too dirty for kids and too dumb for adults so who this movie is for I don’t know.

Ian McShane, who appears as Hellboy’s father, appears lost in this drek.  At one point, there’s a scene where his face gets grafted onto a monster and one wonders if he either fired his agent or decided the money is worth it.  At any rate, he’s too good for this and frankly, David Harbour is too.

I’m always sketchy about reboots, but done well, they can be great.  And I always try to leave room that updates to long beloved properties are done to reflect youthful tastes and I’m not the target audience.  Still, this just sucks.  Hellboy is better than this and if he sees this movie, he’ll probably bash it with his rock arm.

STATUS:  Not-shelfworthy.

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3 thoughts on “Movie Review – Hellboy (2019)

  1. I had to wonder why the hell they’d reboot “Hellboy” I think the original movie (and the sequel to an extent) had something I could tell in a few seconds this one wouldn’t have: humor and charm. I liked the feeling of awkward camaraderie between the very different characters, and the nonchalance in some things.

    Abe’s light delivery and moral grounding were fun. Something about the dialogue between him and HB were so fun. Dunno why, but I love the bit when HB says “skip to the end, how do I kill it?” abe: “hmm, doesn’t say.” It felt like an odd friendship, and I just loved the characters…I think this new one–just from the trailers, mind you–was taking itself too seriously while acting like it wasn’t.

    That seems to be the result when overdone toilet humor and “f-bombs” dominate the dialogue…ugh.

    • There were just too many things and it didn’t really understand what it was about. Hellboy looks bad but he does good and he’s always torn because he could very easily become a god among demons but he instead he chooses the good side and his thanks is he’s not allowed in public lest he scare someone. We all constantly fight who want to be vs how the world sees us.

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