Film review: Hellboy
PUBLISHED: 15:58 16 April 2019
Does the Hellboy reboot meet expectations? Mark Goodin reviews.
That we are reportedly unlikely to see Guillermo del Toro's third installment of his magnificent Hellboy series is, for many, a source of great disappointment and leaves a daunting question hanging over Neil Marshall's reboot – can it escape from under the shadow cast by del Toro's films and Ron Perlman's definitive performance as the titular, cat-loving demon?
The answer is both yes and no.
The film finds Hellboy (David Harbour) and his fellow Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.R.P.D) colleagues forced to take up arms against the Blood Queen Nimue (Mila Jovovich), an ancient witch hell-bent on ending the world.
Harbour is the film's greatest strength, his younger, muscular, more hirsute iteration of the sardonic anti-hero is just as nuanced and fun as Perlman's equally gravel-voiced portrayal. Ian McShane as Hellboy's harsh adoptive father Trevor Bruttenholm is also a delight; though one suspects that the actor can now play this type of role with his hands tied behind his back.
Sadly, the rest of the film does not consistently match the quality of these performances. While Marshall's feature is brimming with plenty of ultra-violent set-pieces – a claret soaked tussle with giants in the New Forest is spectacular - its sprawling narrative lacks the clarity and bold imagination of previous Hellboy outings, at times bordering on being completely incoherent.
Although this feature is unlikely to win over fans of del Toro's Hellboys, there is still devilish good fun to be had in this dark reboot.