Now the very first thing that I need to let you know is that this is not the sequel to Hellboy (2019), which I heaped gentle scorn upon not so very long ago. No. That would make no logical sense if you just considered the release years alone. This is, in fact, the sequel to Hellboy (2004), which I saw in the days before this review page began, if you can even begin to imagine such a time. There. Perfectly clear.
This is the sequel to the very decent Hellboy (2004) as explained above, and although it is not as thoroughly decent as the first one, this one is pretty good too. The ‘evil villain’ of this piece is nuanced: here is a man, no, wait, sorry, let me try that again. The ‘evil villain’ of this piece is nuanced: here is an elf who has had enough of humankind breaking the sacred and ancient oaths between their kind. Here is an elf that will risk everything to teach humankind a lesson, teach them to behave again. Except of course, Hellboy is sworn to protect humankind.
The story was better than it had any right to be. The visual effects were good. There were the occasional moments of haunting sadness as Hellboy realises that the elven prince probably does have every right to do what he is doing. And of course, a jolly big fight scene at the end. If anything, the struggle to include everything that was included meant that the narrative was sometimes a little unevenly paced.
So what makes it better than the Hellboy (2019) reboot/continuation? Is it Ron Perlman under the red suit? Or is it Guillermo del Toro? Or a bit of both? It’s hard to know, because both were lacking in the 2019 version. Feel free to debate it. Except of course, I moderate comments to keep spam away, so if you write down your debate in very small handwriting on airmail paper, and send it on into me via post, I’ll think about it and eventually maybe respond. You don’t need my address though, right? Right. Of course you don’t.