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hellboy (2019)

DIRECTOR: neil marshall (doomsday, centurion)
starring: david harbour, sasha lane, ian mcshane, and milla jovovich


REVIEWER: lyall carter

Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge.

Honesty time. I wasn't sold on the first trailer I saw of the newly rebooted Hellboy. I was a fan of the Del Toro incarnations but not a part of the trigger happy keyboard crowd who didn't believe it should be rebooted. The trailer just didn't do it for me. But boy oh boy did the film do it for me. Strap yourself in. Hellboy is a hellishly great ride. 

Hellboy is called to the English countryside to battle a trio of rampaging giants. There he discovers The Blood Queen, Nimue, a resurrected ancient sorceress thirsting to avenge a past betrayal. Suddenly caught in a clash between the supernatural and the human, Hellboy is now hell-bent on stopping Nimue without triggering the end of the world.

Hellboy isn't a sparkly, cape wearing, do gooding superhero. He looks like he's been hit by a bus after falling out of the ugly tree and he's no hero. How can he be? He's half demon. 

But he's a great anti hero living in the same neighbourhood as Deadpool and Venom. And the film plays to that strength. He's a bit nasty, he's incredibly violent, his humour is a little off but in a world of up standing super heroes he's a breath of fresh air. He's busted up, he's broken, he's got parental relationship issues which makes him all the more relatable. 

The story is intriguing and sucks you into its narrative from the get go. There are secret societies, hidden demons and all manner of nasties, and a big, bad witch trying to destroy the world. There's some really cool twists in the plot; some you see coming and others that are a little more harder to see. And the humour is down right crack up and had our entire row cackling throughout. 

Now Hellboy is dark. Its super, splatter violent with people getting impaled, skinned, and crushed. But the violence feels more cartoony than realistic and so can get away with more than it would be able to otherwise. 

The costume, art, and set direction have a hint of what has come before in the Del Toro films but director Neil Marshall stamps his own mark on it which has a slight punk WWII flavour to it. Just FYI make sure you check out Neil Marshall's criminally under rated Centurion starring Michael Fassbender. Its on Netflix. You can thank me later. 

I love David Harbour. A character actor through and through from a tiny role in Russell Crowe's State of Play to his most renowned role as Chief Hopper in Stranger Things, this guy can act. And underneath all the red prosthetics he gives a very human performance filled with warmth and humour. I really hope there are more Hellboy films so we get to experience more of Harbour's Hellboy. 

The thing that kinda lets the side down was Hellboy's two side kicks. They were perfectly serviceable but ultimately forgettable. It doesn't massively distract from the rest of the film but you kinda wished that the film makers had placed some stronger actors around Hellboy or had added depth to the characters. 

That being said, Hellboy is an entertaining ride which, as anti super heroes goes, is way better than Venom ever was and just slightly below Deadpool if you wanna compare. Go and see it. You'll be more than entertained. 

Do you like your heroes to be a little different? Then Hellboy is the film for you.

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