Movie Review: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Is it me, or Hellboy 2 looks like an action movie version of Pan's Labyrinth ?

I can't help but feel like that, especially with the very good impression Pan's Labyrinth made on me, but Hellboy II: The Golden Army is no push-over. I guess with director Guillermo Del Toro at the helm, you can expect a finely crafted movie, regardless of the genre.

The film takes off some time after the first installment, where demon Hellboy (Ron Perlman) and pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) are a couple, and they are living in the underground complex of the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense with their colleague fishman Abe Sapien (Doug Jones, who incidentally played the Pan in Pan's Labyrtinth). The team is obviously freakish, but Del Toro gives them human dimensions by making them face issues people often deal with, such as social acceptance, romance, domestic problems, and even personal happiness in lieu of the greater good. Of course, they deal with the typical super-heroic problem of saving the world.

The special effects are top notch, with the design of the world of trolls and goblins very atmospheric and detailed enough to make you believe there's an underground realm underneath New York City. The humor of the character and comics (Hellboy is a Dark Horse Comics character created by Mike Mignola) is retained and the movie even tries to widen its scope to epic proportions (a la Lord of the Rings). But somehow, the rather open-ended conclusion of the film didn't work for me.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is of fine quality, and I really am surprised with myself why it took me this long to watch the darned film.

Rating: 4.5/5

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