With no surprise, Hellboy (2019) is quite a different experience from the del Toro episodes. But I didn’t, at all, find it unbearable.
Hellboy (2019) Synopsis
Before their defeat, the Nazis conducted an occult ritual in hopes of regaining the upper hand. They succeeded in summoning a hellish being, but the ritual was then thwarted by the B.P.R.D., with B.P.R.D. founder Trevor Bruttenholm also adopting the summoned being i.e. Hellboy as his son. Years later, Hellboy, now a B.P.R.D. investigator himself, is increasingly disillusioned by his missions to kill fellow demons and monsters. When attempts to resurrect an ancient British demoness threaten the world, Hellboy finds himself drawn to the demoness’ cause. He also soon realises that he is the key to the demoness’ final victory.
This … wasn’t half as bad as I expected it to be. After reading nothing but scorn for it for a week, I honestly thought the movie would be nothing short of terrible.
Turns out, while most of Hellboy (2019) was messy, half-baked, or obsessed with gore, it wasn’t altogether unbearable to watch too. Actually, I’d even say I enjoyed the various depictions of the monsters. All were run-of-the-mill Silent Hill, Lovecraftian stuff, but hey, while they might not horrify, they certainly did feel villainous. Particularly the grotesque Baba Yaga and her cuisine.
As for the awful reviews flying everywhere, I suppose it boils down to the usual case of over-expectations. On that, I mean, come on. Did people really expect this reboot to match up to the visual splendour and imagination of the Guillermo del Toro episodes? Do they want it to?
Perhaps director Neil Marshall’s biggest mistake was to opt to retell Hellboy’s origin, a decision which screamed for nitpicky comparison. Would the movie thus have fared better, at least with professional critics, had it not done so? You know, I’m certain it would have. At the very least, the main focus would be back on David’s Harbour admirable performance. I find his de-horned one a shade too hapless. But it is gross injustice to say his portrayal deserves no merits.