Only in a comic book could our hero be a huge red horned beast from Hell who has a beautiful girlfriend and loves kittens. Everything about this character and comic book is silly. But that is not a problem because it is meant to be silly. And it does silly very well.
A film like this is right up director/screenwriter Guillermo Del Toro’s alley. You don’t have to wonder too long about why they chose him or why he gravitates to this type of film where he creates everything. He loves the fantastic fantasy stories and as he did with Pan’s Labyrinth he creates a film that is full of amazingly odd beasts, full of imagination and stunning visuals. Del Toro has created an epic of a comic book.
Del Toro has infused a film which could have been overly dark and dreary with plenty of quirky and humour in order to bring some levity to the picture. I don’t want you to think that everything is chuckles and hearts. It isn’t. The villains are more evil, the guns are bigger and it has this whole badass attitude to it. He has expounded on the ideas he originated with the first film and has gone ten steps further. Makes you wonder what he has left up his sleeve for the next one. Or if he will even do the next one.
To give you the Reader’s Digest version of the story. This one begins with an ancient truce between Earth’s inhabitants and the invisible realm of the fantastic being broken. Hell on Earth is about to unfold. The ruthless leader of the underworld dares to tread on the Earth and raises a seemingly undefeatable army. All hell is breaking loose and humans need someone to put a halt to it.
This sounds like the perfect job for Hellboy (Ron Perlman – from television’s Beauty and the Beast) and his friends. With help from his psychokinetic girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair – Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions), a protoplasmic mystic (James Dodd – Layer Cake – with voice by Seth MacFarlane – creator of television’s Family Guy) and the aquatic Abe (Doug Jones – Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Lady in the Water), Hellboy wages battle on Earth and down below.
The constant fighting is not a problem for Hellboy. A problem arises when he realizes that he is an outcast whether he is above ground or below and it becomes exceedingly more difficult for him to turn his back on his destiny.
The story is not stupendous and at times it lags, but the way it looks and the magical, horror filled worlds that Del Toro is able to create makes up for any inadequacies. What he also does wonderfully is infuse all these fantastic creatures with plenty of humanity. They are vulnerable, mortal, full of doubt, and emotional. Just like you and me. They are easier to identify with than most comic book superheroes. Despite the way they look.
This is the second film in this comic book based series and if the ending of the film is any indication, it certainly is not the last.
-Hellboy II: In Service of the Demon
-Scene Explorer: Schufften Goggle View
-Production Workshop Puppet Theater
-Comic Book Builder
-U-Control: Set Visits, Director’s Notebook, Concept Art Gallery
-Troll Market Tour with Director Guillermo del Toro
-Feature Commentary with Guillermo del Toro
-Feature Commentary with Cast Members Jeffrey Tambor, Selma Blair & Luke Gross
-Deleted Scenes with Optional Director’s Commentary
-Zinco Epilogue Animated Comic