for being good, but not being the Hellboy that I wanted to see
I am sure that there will be many reviews for Hellboy II that are positively glowing. They will remark that Guillermo del Toro has crafted a work of art. Others will mention how funny it is. And none of them are wrong. Hellboy II is funny, and it is a work of art. However, it is also a very weak story masked in humor and style.
I like del Toro’s style. I thought Pan’s Labyrinth was great. I even liked Blade II. And I loved the first Hellboy movie. If I were to base my review of this film entirely on the visual style, I’d be giving it an 11 or a 12. Its beautiful, even stunning in places. And the movie is funny. There are some parts of the movie that are absolutely hilarious, and if this review were based entirely on the funny bits and it was a comedy, I’d probably be giving it at least a 10. However, the comedy of the film becomes a distraction if you happen to notice how weak the underlying tale being told is, and style is never something I have preferred over substance.
If you enjoyed Hellboy for the occult bits, you might want to skip Hellboy II because the occult is almost absent here. If you enjoyed Hellboy for the dark and ominous tone, you might want to skip Hellboy II because this movie is bright and sunny by comparison.
In the end, though, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is still a good movie. Better than a lot of films that make it to the screen, and continues the trend of good comic book movies making it to the screen this year that looks like is going to continue right through Christmas and beyond. Its a good movie that just wasn’t as good as I had hoped, and not as good as its predecessor.