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Fire at Will!'s Review

Created Nov 16, 2008 10:21AM PST • Edited Nov 16, 2008 10:21AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    Another of those rare examples where a sequel completely outdoes its predecessor (how many more can we get?), “Hellboy 2” appears onscreen as if Guillermo Del Toro had downloaded every monstrous image from his mind and projected it onto film. Visually, acting-wise and narratively speaking, this film marks among my favourites from 2008.

  3. Very Good 3.5

    Ron Perlman IS Hellboy – it’s not even as if he could be in anything else now, as this is all I will see him as (unless Del Toro gives him an awesome role in the “Hobbit” films. The rest of the cast are just as good as they were first time around, but the addition of Luke Goss and Anna Walton improves it further.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0

    Perlman gets way more screen time here (the absence of Rupert Jones’ Agent Myers is comically explained), and as a result we get a better viewpoint of the character’s personality – one hugely flawed and emotional monster, not at all sure of his place in the world. The actor manages to make Hellboy sympathetic and dangerous, and that’s one of the performance’s strengths.

  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5

    Selma Blair is brilliant here, her character allowed to be herself at last in this narrative, and as such we see the best of the actress as her character struggles with her place in the world. As the only human in the BPRD, she allows for the audience to connect more with her struggles, and certain revelations throughout the plot allow for us to see that she is struggling with getting the balance between the human and the monster in herself.

  6. Female Costars Good 3.0

    Anna Walton plays the twin sister of Goss’ Nuada, and the British actress presents the character’s confusion and dilemmas with an icy, yet innocent countenance.

  7. Male Costars Great 4.0

    Luke Goss, Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambour and Seth McFarlane (yes, “Family Guy”‘s Stewie/Peter etc.) all give different yet significant elements to the film. Goss, as the antagonist Prince Nuada, presents the elf prince as a man who simply feels that the world is losing its touch with fantasy, and creates a sympathetic character that can’t really be seen as wholly evil. Jones gets to voice and act as Sapien this time around, and the gangly actor can be seen to be just as good at speaking as his freakish body is at portraying this bizarre characters (he also plays the disturbing Angel of Death here). Tambour takes a more leading role to replace John Hurt’s character here, and the comedy, whilst ramped up a notch, is counter-acted with a new position of antagonism towards Hellboy’s appearances in public. McFarlane voices Johann Krauss, a mechanical, eptoplasmic German who joins the team, and the “Family Guy” mastermind shows versatility of voice to portray the stuffy new ‘leader’ of the team; his scenes with Hellboy are among the film’s most hilarious.

  8. Great 4.0

    If Del Toro made this film as an audition of sorts for “The Hobbit”, he couldn’t have really done any better. The film improves on the first on every level, and I personally think that this, alongside “Pan’s Labyrinth” mark Guillermo Del Toro as one of the best directors at this point in time.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5

    The narrative’s mythological bent, mixed with Hellboy’s growing angst about his position on earth, allow Del Toro to add more drama and emotive plot points, humanising the film and the characters somewhat. However, to counteract this, he adds monster upon monster and then proceeds to make the audience feel sympathetic towards them; a moral confusion that the director delights in presenting throughout. What could have been a stupid comic book movie ends up posing some interesting questions alongside a masterful action/comedy/thriller combination.

  10. Play Very Good 3.5

    There are some zingers here, and the exposition is really nicely handled at the beginning of the film through an intriguing plot device (I can’t spoil it), which allows the rest of the film to go off the rails. The interactions between Hellboy, Tambour’s Manning and Krauss are the comedic highlights, and in some of the scenes with Goss and Perlman, you get the sense of conflict both feel about what is going on – who are the monsters? Are those we perceive as monsters not so?

  11. Music Good 3.0

    The soundtrack itself is again, sadly, anonymous, only really serving to back the film up. However, one scene utilises a Barry Manilow song to hilarious, brilliant results, and this one point in the film will stick in the mind for a while afterward – Manilow should ask them for royalties!

  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    The film is outstanding in this regard. You will actually not see anything as amazing or as vibrant this year onscreen. From the imperious BPRD hideout to the grotty streets of Manhattan, the film is realistic in its depiction of the real world. When it shows the underworld of fantasy, fairytale and magic (amusingly below the Brooklyn Bridge), you will be astounded. The Troll Market that the BPRD agents visit has been compared to the Cantina scene in “Star Wars: A New Hope”, and it is just like that: monsters as far as the eye can see, all presented onscreen in their bizarre glory. This, along with the storage area for the eponymous Golden Army, is an indication of the visual flair Del Toro and his effects supervisors have created, and along with the fantastic CGI (in some places flawless), you can only hope that “The Hobbit” will be just as good, if not better.

  13. Content
  14. Tame 1.3

    The film, again like its predecessor, is violent and in places a little gory (though this film less so). And again, no swearing or nudity, which allows for it to be seen by even kids (depending on how well they can take the monsters!).

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Fierce 2.0
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.0
  18. Fantasy 5.0

    As if it wasn’t in doubt, the film is out and out fantasy, only realistic in its depictions of the real world before it’s attacked by supernatural beings.

  19. Circumstantial Fantasy 5.0
  20. Biological Fantasy 5.0
  21. Physical Fantasy 5.0


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