Right at the onset of this article, let’s get the fairly obvious done and out-of-the-way, and that would be comparing the latest reboot of the beloved character from Dark Horse comics to Benicio Del Toro’s version, a duology, the last one of which released back in 2008, following which the producers and Del Toro struggled to bring a second sequel to fruition. There is no denying that Del Toro’s version was better, and Ron Perlman looked like he was born to play the role. You get to appreciate the characters and designs, and Hellboy’s backstory coupled with a good degree of fantasy-escapist fun, all of it PG-13, and good-natured charming fun, everything that the monsters and characters aren’t, which is an achievement if you ask me. Come 2019, and the reboot is throwing severed limbs and heads and splatters of blood at the screen every ten minutes, sometimes even the more frequently. While almost equally encompassed in a completely fantastic world, the film comes undone many a time because of the excessive gore.
While I will break down how the film fared for me, and why the comparison and its result is so obvious in the last section of the article, I will also state, unlike many of the reviewers out there that have completely shunned the film, that there is some stuff to like here in this CGI gore fest. One of its major strengths: its fantastical world while not as wildly imaginative as Del Toro’s (the man-made Pan’s Labyrinth for god’s sake), is way closer to the comics than Del Toro’s version was, or even intended to be. This is the reason why fans of the original comics will enjoy this more than the average movie goers, who by the way will have no clue what the hell is going on.
The second reason, for starters, would be our new Hellboy, David Harbour, who is sincere in his role to say the least and comes very close to Perlman’s now legendary portrayal of the character.The CGI is definitely better, as is the work by the makeup department: some of the monsters (especially Baba Yaga whose rendition I loved) are terrifyingly good, lending the film some of its better, goth-horror vibed bits. Where Hellboy falters is its visibly tiring charade of trying to be everything at once, visibile from its storyline and writing that has little room for breathing, and the frenetic editing amongst all the CGI dismemberments and blood, and still trying to appeal to the blockbuster typology of films, in the process a similar audience too, despite taking the brave step of being an R-Rated comic book flick. While this is as much as a consensus you will need to decide whether to watch the film or not, there is plenty of room for a sequel about which you will learn in the sections to follow, which also means that there is plenty of room for improvement. Read on to find out about the easter eggs, prospects of a sequel, and what that ending meant.
The Ending, Explained
The good news is that there is nothing wildly unpredictable or twisty about Hellboy’s ending. We knew, ever since from the first look at the trailers that Nimue the Blood Queen, the primary antagonist of the film, being played by the ageless MillaJovovich, would wind up dead. She is the typical origin story villain: hell-bent on the apocalypse and stopped by our hero conveniently close to the ending, but not killed off completely so as to not kill of prospects of a future appearance. Don’t get me wrong, she is a very serviceable villain, even earnestly likeable at some points, with completely understandable character motives: because what’s a witch to do other than end the world or bring about hell? Anyway, the end of the film occurs in two typical segments: one, which is the end to the storyline of the film in general, and the second, that shows how our heroes team up in the aftermath of the first and continue combating supernatural threats. Here, we expand on both.