For years Director Guillermo del Toro tried to get a third Hellboy movie off the ground but it unfortunately never came to fruition. Summit Entertainment was finally able to get another movie going and they chose Neil Marshall to get behind the camera. With a new director, a new actor playing Hellboy in the form of David Harbour and a new vision for the character all the pieces seemed to be falling into place. The question is, how does this new version of Hellboy compare to the two from del Toro?
Neil Marshall and company decided to go for a hard R rating this time around. With the recent success of R rated superhero movies like Logan and Deadpool this seemed like a no brainer for a character that isn’t afraid to get a little violent in his comic books. The thing that set those two movies apart from all the other superhero movies at the time was their stories and attention to their main characters. Unfortunately for Hellboy the filmmakers focus a little too much on that R rating rather than the story or the characters.
This movie suffers from a lot of problems but one of the biggest is it feels like more often than not that the filmmakers just want to throw everything they can at the screen and make it as violent as possible. Characters get torn apart, burned to death, blown to pieces and it’s all for the sake of just doing it because they can. It never feels like any of the violence here is ever warranted. Not saying that the movie doesn’t need to be violent it just feels like the filmmakers were just making things overly violent for the hell of it and didn’t seem as interested in everything else.
As for David Harbour’s portrayal as Hellboy, it’s nothing special. He’s not completely terrible but he’s really not that good either. A lot of it feels like it’s more on the direction side rather than Harbour himself because he usually is really good in everything that he’s in and it’s not very often for him to give a bad performance. The character of Hellboy is definitely the best aspect of the movie but that isn’t really saying much because everything else for the most part just falls completely flat. Milla Jovovich is wasted as the villain here as they don’t really do a whole lot with her and when they actually try to none of it particularly works. A lot of time is spent on the character of Alice (played by Sasha Lane) and honestly it would have been better to not have her as a primary character. Ian McShane and Daniel Dae Kim both put in some decent work but their characters aren’t given much to do.
One thing that made the 2004 Hellboy and its sequel so entertaining was the attention to detail that Guillermo del Toro put into every little piece of the movie. From the sets to the design of the characters to the overall feel of the world he created you could tell that he put a lot of heart into it. Here you don’t really get any of that. It’s hard to connect with any of the characters, the story isn’t all that interesting and the effects leave a lot to be desired. It’s a shame because this was a chance for someone to give a different take on a character that a lot of people still aren’t all that familiar with and give people a chance to explore him and his world. Unfortunately it fails on too many levels and the few things that do work get overshadowed by everything that doesn’t work.