Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
A demon destined to destroy humanity appears on Earth but is recruited by the Department of Paranormal Research to defend the world against supernatural threats.
The appearance of these films is very striking in terms of the colours chosen overlaid by the grimy locations and decayed villains. The direction was also very good and the action easily maintained interest despite the long running times. The main source of entertainment was from the variety of characters and creatures but there was also a little subtext.
The lore of the universe isn’t clear which means that solutions to problems and capabilities of both heroes and villains are so unclear that any character can change the game with no preparation or explanation and the audience has to accept it. This leaves us unable to properly identify with any of the characters and makes the narrative unpredictable not because it’s surprising but because there is privileged information not given to the audience until it becomes immediately relevant.
The sequel holds up quite well which is unusual for comic book adaptations. There is some good continuity with many characters from the first one returning, even if just for small parts that make all the difference. It’s also entertaining and familiar without repeating the same story from the first one and some relationships are built upon.
The story could have engaged more with regional myths or lore, especially in the second one where it goes to Ireland but there were still just general ‘monsters’. The second one also ends rather abruptly whereas it may have been interesting to have learned a little about the aftermath for the characters and how they went on, although perhaps they were holding out for a third one.
Hellboy: 6/10 -Just a cut above average-
Hellboy 2: 6/10 -Just a cut above average-
-The director appears in the first film dressed as a dragon, similarly the Hellboy creator is dressed as a knight.
-The sequel was announced while the first one was still in theatres.
-The film was called “Super Sapiens” in Malaysia since they ban any films containing references to Hell or the devil outright.