Saturday, July 12, 2008

Some Thoughts on "Hellboy II: The Golden Army"

This is what summer movies should be.

Imagine if Pan's Labyrinth were a summer popcorn action film, and you have a basic idea of what Guillermo Del Toro has done with Hellboy II. He brings that same sense of boundless imagination and visual mastery to the table that he did with his previous masterpiece, and applies it to the realm of the summer blockbuster. And in that regard, Hellboy II is the best superhero movie so far this season (sorry Iron Man) and second only over all to WALL-E.

I was not a huge fan of the original Hellboy. It was likable, and just offbeat enough to set it apart from the rest of the pack. But it never lit me on fire, so to speak. Hellboy II on the other hand, is like the main course after the appetizer. It's flashy, funny, thrilling, and gorgeously designed. By this time the characters have become so well developed and the plot so rooted in Irish folklore rather than the colder, more well worn Nazi bad guy path of the original, that it feels as if Hellboy has finally found its voice and come into its own.

It is immediately apparent that Del Toro was allowed more control over the final product, as it bears the mark of a creative genius let loose, free to flex his muscles and realize his vision. Hellboy II features more of Del Toro's trademark fantastical creatures and otherworldly locations to the point that it is a journey into the mind of an auteur.

It is pure summer fun that is both original and intelligent, never insulting the intelligence of the audience or jumping the tracks with outlandish third-act twists (a la Hancock). It is an action fantasy that, once surrendered to, is grandly entertaining, and superior to its predecessor in every way, from the visual effects, to the costume and production design, to Danny Elfman's rich score.

As much as I liked and respected Iron Man, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is the better film. It doesn't lose steam in the final act the way Iron Man does, and while it doesn't have Robert Downey Jr., Hellboy is clearly the more creative and artistic endeavor. I loved it.

Full review coming Thursday.

1 comment:

nick plowman said...

Can't wait to see the film/read your review.

Sounds like a vast improvement on the first film, and that is exactly what I want.