‘Hellboy’ is an Unholy Mess

I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is, after so many years of patiently waiting, we finally have a brand new Hellboy movie.

The bad news is, it doesn’t have Ron Perlman, it isn’t directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and is basically the polar opposite of everything that we ever wanted… namely another good Hellboy movie.

Hellboy is back, and he’s been rebooted. It’s much the same story that we’ve seen before, which is only part of the problem. Hellboy is a demon from hell, conjured up during the final days of World War II and appropriated by the side of good to fight all of the monsters and baddies that come to destroy humanity.

Now, he has to fight an immortal witch who wants to destroy all human life on Earth and take him as her king and so, Hellboy must make the ultimate choice (again) as to what kind of person he wants to be while he battles the supernatural and his own destiny.

It’s really hard to review this movie on its own merits as I keep wanting to compare it to the Ron Pearlman Hellboy movies. That in of itself is unfair, because this movie simply does not compare to the Ron Pearlman Hellboy movies. The Ron Pearlman Hellboy movies were original, fun, a pleasure to watch, unapologetically goofy at times, and held firmly in place by Ron Pearlman’s charismatic personality.   They were just a weird ball of outrageous fun.

This new Hellboy movie has none of that. Obviously, it was wanting to go in a completely different direction which is why we have something ultra-violent, ultra-gory, and full of profanity. I’m told that this new approach more closely mirrors the source material, which I wouldn’t know since I’ve never read the source material in the first place. I just enjoyed the older movies for what they were. That being fun.

What I can tell you, is that this new movie is anything but fun. It’s dour, dreary, overstuffed with plot, and edited in such a way that it almost feels like you’re on a roller coaster going downhill at a hundred miles an hour, only there are spikes and fire waiting for you at the bottom and there’s no way you can stop.

This movie never stops. It never takes a breath, never gives you a moment to absorb anything, never let you feel any emotions.

If it wasn’t so boring, I would say it was exhausting.

What’s strange is that you can almost tell that the editors realized that this movie had some major problems in post-production, because they have edited in a lot of additional jokes that all seems to be told by characters who never move their lips to match the dialogue. I don’t have a problem with adding more jokes to a movie after the movie’s been shot, but it would have been nice if some of the jokes would have been funny. As of now they’re just witless quips added in a desperate attempt to salvage something unsalvageable.

David Harbour, God bless the guy, just does not have a handle on this character. He mumbles, is completely underwhelmed by everything he sees and experiences, and this makes it seem like his character isn’t even involved and what’s going on. It makes the audience not involved in what’s going on. It doesn’t help that what’s going on is boring to begin with.   For the most part, Harbour seems… bored with the role like he’s completely out of damns to give.   If I didn’t know better (and I don’t) it’s almost like the actor spent most of his time drunk and not the character just so he could be done with the movie a little easier.

Personally, I don’t blame him.   This movie is a mess from beginning to end. A massive miscalculation by a studio seeking to mature up a franchise that was already mature in its own ways that the studio obviously didn’t understand. The result is a movie that everybody was waiting for, but turned out to be something that nobody wanted. This entire film is a dreadfully joyless affair… there’s no fun, no excitement, and absolutely no reason for this reason to exist.

The true tragedy is that this dour and depressing reboot has cost us Hellboy 3 which is a movie that deserve to exist way more than this one ever did.

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