It has been eleven years since Hellboy’s last appearance on the big screen. STRANGER THINGS star David Harbour takes over the leading role of the demonic anti-hero. With its terrible reviews on a disastrous 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, is the new HELLBOY worth seeing? Can this R-rated adaptation survive sandwiched in between two family-friendly superhero movies?

A Fresh Opinion on HELLBOY

This review comes from a completely fresh source with zero knowledge of the property. Before the film’s release, I did plan to view what Ron Pearlman and Guillermo Del Toro did with the property. However, I want to look into this reboot with a fresh pair of eyes not having any comparisons to make. I want to see how this reimagining holds up for casual moviegoers unaware of the previous installments. Judging from the Rotten Tomatoes score though, I don’t believe fans are too happy with this adaptation.

Old Hellboy Movies with Del Toro
Courtesy of MovieWeb

The majority of critics are unsatisfied with how this new film turned out compared to Del Toro’s version. Many reviews state that this Neil Marshall version is nowhere close to the imagination Del Toro showed off before. While all these critics have valid arguments on the film, many appear only to be looking to use a clever pun. At this point, it’s clear from all the reviews that this adaptation is not as good as the last attempt. However, what would casual audiences who haven’t seen Del Toro version think of this new take on the brand?

Let’s not compare Del Toro’s efforts to Marshall’s first cinematic direction as we all know who’s more experienced. Rather than mope about Del Toro not returning for a third installment, let’s judge this reboot as a fresh adaptation. Every HELLBOY fan upset about this new adaptation is entirely right for voicing their opinion. Let’s see, though, what a newcomer, like me, thinks of this current HELLBOY movie.

David Harbour Portraying Duke Nukem as Hellboy

David Harbour as title character
Courtesy of MoviePosterHD.com

David Harbour is a quality actor who has remained in supporting roles for years. His filmography includes many recognizable titles where he only got to play small parts. HELLBOY marks his first title role in his entire career, and he’s not wasting a single moment of it. The actor brings a lot of wit and charm to an otherwise unlikeable character. Harbour is the biggest strength of the film, as his performance brings this B-movie quality horror flick up a few notches.

Harbour has been tight-cast as the average cop character for the majority of his career so far. It’s exciting to finally see Harbour finally in an outrageous and ridiculous role. His Hellboy portrayal has now expanded his acting range to various other characters. His voice and attitude are reminiscent of a video game character with a similar personality: Duke Nukem. Looking back before seeing any material of him as Hellboy, I would have never imagined him as a gritty character like this. Harbour deserves to be cast in various types of roles now after his performance in this film. I hope though he doesn’t get pulled back again for his upcoming role in the forthcoming BLACK WIDOW movie.

Rated R for Ridiculous Amount of Gore

When I look back at this HELLBOY movie, I’m going to remember the gruesome gore. It has been a long time since excessive violence has been shown on screen like this in years. Right from the prologue, there’s decapitation and limbs getting cut off before the title is onscreen. HELLBOY is a very violent movie that no one under 17 should see. The best comparison to make regarding its style and tone is EVIL DEAD 2. The character designs and violence in HELLBOY are very similar to Sam Rami’s horror series.

Hellboy
Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

HELLBOY continues the trend of giving mature comic book properties the necessary adult rating to do the material justice. Thanks to other R-rated comic adaptations, like DEADPOOL and LOGAN, HELLBOY can finally live up to his demonic origins. This movie is made entirely with a restricted rating in mind. HELLBOY wasn’t shot as a PG-13 film and edited with extra swear words and blood effects.

From beginning to end, this is a bloody, nasty comic book adaptation for adults. The best way to describe the overall tone of HELLBOY is by comparing it to the B-movie grindhouse era. The filmmaker’s intentions were strictly on the action and gore, with the script and character development an afterthought. As mediocre, to downright terrible, the effects can look, and the creativity and brutal nature of it actually allows the flaw to slip by. Everything excellent about HELLBOY comes from Harbour’s leading performance and the ridiculous action and gore. However, the overall quality of every other aspect of the film is terrible.

A Movie Only a Mother Can Love

HELLBOY is a terrible movie when judging it on a critical level. Everything aside from the main character and over-the-top action is embarrassing to non-existent. None of the characters have any chemistry or comradery with each other. The story is all over the place and the least bit engaging. The lines given to the actors range from extremely dry to outrageous nonsense. The motivation for Milla Jovovich’s villain character is to take over the world. Every supporting role is a one-note stereotype and nothing more. The biggest crime of the film comes down to a terrible script.

It’s clear that Marshall was aiming for that B-movie, a grindhouse feel, but a lackluster script makes the final product hard to defend. Even my praise of the action comes with too many cuts and a lot of shaky-cam. Some of the effects and fight scenes are very impressive, but the subpar camerawork makes it hard to follow. Especially being thrown in between two big blockbusters, HELLBOY is going to fail quickly.

As much as HELLBOY is more for adults than SHAZAM and AVENGERS: ENDGAME, the same audience will see the more critically praised films. If HELLBOY has any chance of succeeding at this quality, it should have released away from any competition. Expect to see this film come and go due to the lack of word-of-mouth it will receive.

A Guilty Pleasure for Some; An Abomination for Others

Hellboy Teaser Poster
Courtesy of IMDB.com

I am pleasantly surprised by how much fun I got out of HELLBOY. I was expecting a trainwreck judging from all the harsh reviews before going to see it. At the end of it all, HELLBOY is dumb, yet a fun time at the theaters. This movie is the definition of a guilty pleasure movie to watch late at night with your friends. There is plenty to mock about it and a lot to genuinely enjoy about it too. As much as I enjoyed watching HELLBOY, I am not part of the general reactions its been receiving. The best way to enjoy this movie is if you know what to expect going in.

Looking for anything besides bloody action and dumb humor will cause a disappointing experience. If spending money to see it on the big screen is too much of a risk, wait for it to come out and rent to make a brainless movie night out of it. HELLBOY is a huge mess when it comes to its story and character development. The creative team behind the monsters and the gore are the most valuable members of the crew. The writing team, however, are the true villains in this film. This version of HELLBOY could have been a bloody epic that takes the franchise in a new direction. As it is now, it settles as a guilty-pleasure action flick with a horrible script.

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