Comic Book Movie Rewatch: Hellboy

I’ve decided to go back and watch a bunch of movies based on comic books. No real reason, just something I thought would be fun. This time it was the 2004 movie Hellboy.


IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes critics: 81%

Rotten Tomatoes audience: 65%

My Rating: 8/10

This movie does not get enough praise. From beginning to end, it’s just a good movie. One thing I really noticed as I watched it again was that it’s the periphery characters that make the movie so good. The secondary villain, Kroenen, is fantastic. He’s just the right amount of menacing and subordinate. Likewise, the secondary hero, Abe Sapien, is arguably the most interesting character in the movie. That’s not to say that they overshadow the main characters. Ron Perlman is perfect in his role as a surly, petulant Hellboy, and it’s definitely his story from beginning to end. Rasputin is a solid villain, though I would have preferred his abilities to be a little more well defined.

The visual effects in the movie hold up really well. A lot of that is because practical effects were used a lot more than CGI. The CGI effects blend fairly well into the practical effects, though it is pretty obvious at times. I have to give Guillermo del Toro credit for not relying on them too heavily. I didn’t notice the music too much, but I take that as a good sign, since it usually means the focus isn’t being pulled away from the story.

The movie has its flaws. The plot is a little hard to follow, and there are some questionable decisions made by both the heroes and villains. I also wasn’t a big fan of the final battle. I didn’t think there was enough time spent in establishing why the ‘gods’ were a threat, especially since Hellboy seemed to handle one relatively easily (the fact that he used human weapons, rather than some innate ability makes them seem more vulnerable than they probably should have been).

This is one of those movies that I want to watch every so often because it’s fun. It’s just a popcorn movie, but it’s a really good popcorn movie, and it doesn’t try to be anything more.


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