NOTE: This post was done right after another one, so make sure you scroll down to see what you missed.
I was surprised when I found out Guillermo del Toro, director of the legendary cult foreign film Pan’s Labyrinth, had been respinsible for the first Hellboy, seeing as it wasn’t very good – especially considering that Hellboy 2 is easily one of my new favorite movies.
It’s true, these days we’ve pretty much put the cap on special effects. It’s no longer a matter of what we can do, but a matter of how we do it when it comes to what is shown in movies, and until we reach a transformation in cinema altogether, we’ve pretty much seen the tip of the FX iceburg. Guillermo del Toro seems to know this as Hellboy 2 not only features the highest-end special effects we’ve come to expect from Hollywood blockbusters, but the visionary directing skills to make it something we haven’t seen before.
For starters, Hellboy 2 has some of the most fucking awesome designs ever, period. The main villain is a badass dark-elf black-metal sweedish looking motherfucker with a blade that can extend into a staff and a bad attitude. The villain remains respectable as he is not without honor, and a true warrior with mad skills. Hellboy’s crew are cool looking as ever, but we should really be looking to the incredible monsters, of which there are no shortage. Dark elf boy’s sidekick is a hulking beast with a big metal fist attached to a chain – it’s visceral blows are always a blast. We have the toothfaries which are little winged hellions that are adorable yet creepy and eat people alive – starting with the teeth. When one of them is brought to an operating table it looked exactly like a scene from a tool video. When the heroes take a slip into an underground Troll Market, they find themselves among a hive of great looking creatuers. We also have a building-sized plant elemental which seems torn right out of the last RPG you played and when it’s destroyed, it becomes a beautiful source of plant life springing up in the city. There are several moments like this which seem to celebrate the beauty of nature. One of the oddest beasts was a top half of what looke dmostly human which sat in a wheelbarrow using two logs fashioned into a hammer shape with which he could puch is cart across the ground. My favorite monster by far was a huge death-like winged thing with no eyes and a broad plate for the top of it’s head. It’s wings are dotted with little eyes and it looks badass beyond all fucking reason.
now that I’m done fanboying over the designs, we’ll discuss the directing which was stupendous. The film made sure to have lots of epic pans and location-defining shots that gave an air of mysticism to every ounce of the movie. However even more importantly the fights were incredible. The dark elf motherfucker kicked some Jet Li levels of monster and human ass, there were slug-outs with Hellboy and other marauding beasts, shootouts with big-ass guns, location-based acrobatic duels, and best of all a 3-versus-100 all-out struggle with some big motherfuckers with equally big weapons. If my use of plurals wasn’t enough of an indication, this movie had a LOT of fighting – it’s the most fights I’ve ever seen in a movie that wasn’t a kung-fu flick, and that is definitely something to be proud of.
Especially when there isn’t a sacrifice of plot. Okay, so Hellboy doesn’t have the best plot in the world – it’s another lameass ‘I just wanna fit in’ story, but portrayed a little differently. There was an air of tragedy around this one, and one that makes you yourself start to think and wonder if Hellboy should really keep playing the hero. This makes the ending all the more satisfying and leaves a lot on your mind. My favorite part of all this though was definitely the way the film knew how to have some fun and not constantly take itself seriously. Admittedly, there was some really fucking corny stuff in there, however it felt like the movie was trying to be corny on purpose as a way of telling you ‘hey lighten up.’ My favorite of these parts had to be when Hellboy decides near the beginning to show himslef to the people by letting himself get blown out of a window onto the city street and as he falls slowly it plays an opera song reminiscent of the scene from episode five of Cowboy Bebop where Spike is knocked out of the cathedral window.
If you like supernatural action movies, anything involving mystical creatures, special effects showcases, or just movies in general, you absolutely must see this one – it’s a blast and a half.