Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
March 9, 2023 6:13 PM - Subscribe

A prince of the mythical world starts a rebellion against humanity in order to rule the Earth. Hellboy and his team must fight to stop him from activating the all-powerful Golden Army.

Kenneth Turan, LA Times:
It’s refreshing to see what happens when a visionary filmmaker such as Guillermo del Toro falls in love with a superhero who was described in the first “Hellboy” film as “6-foot-5, bright red, has a tail and is government funded.”

Starting with characters created by Mike Mignola for Dark Horse Comics, writer-director Del Toro, whose one-of-a-kind “Pan’s Labyrinth” won a trio of Oscars in 2007, is almost alone in his ability to re-create on screen the wide-eyed exhilaration and disturbing grotesqueness that is the legacy of reading comics on the page.

To see this film, beautifully shot by Guillermo Navarro, is to truly feel you’ve entered another world, filled with nightmarish things both unimaginable and indescribable.
Roger Ebert:
I also admire the creativity that went into the Troll Market (it has a secret entry under the Brooklyn Bridge). Here I think del Toro actually was inspired by the Tatooine saloon in “Star Wars,” and brings together creatures of fantastical shapes and sizes, buying and selling goods of comparable shapes and sizes. It would be worth having the DVD just to study the market a frame at a time, discovering what secrets he may have hidden in there. The movies only rarely give us a genuinely new kind of place to look at; this will become a classic.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (11 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I am extraordinarily fond of this movie.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:14 PM on March 9, 2023 [4 favorites]

I loved the first Hellboy movie, and this one has a lot of fun elements. However, having read the comics, they kind of went off the rails in this movie with who the characters are. I really dislike the decision to make Liz pregnant. It was bad enough they made her "The Girlfriend" in the first movie.

This movie moved too far away from the X Files creepy vibe of the comics and got more goofy/silly.

I still think Ron Perlman is the perfect casting choice for Hellboy. I wish it had been more successful so we got more of him in the role. Doug Jones also does a fantastic job as Abe.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:19 AM on March 10, 2023 [9 favorites]

Is this the one with the drunk scene? The drunk scene is fabulous.
posted by humbug at 6:58 AM on March 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

I am also lowkey a big fan of this film because it's a luxuriant film to look at. There's so much about the replacement of the natural/fantasy world with the modern, with industry. That the Golden Army, which represents essentially a WMD is based in magical mechanics/industry is a cherry on top of the film's message. There's such a sense of melancholy to it. I'm pressed for time, so my barest thoughts.
posted by Atreides at 8:22 AM on March 10, 2023 [3 favorites]

I like this sequel better than the original movie. Doesn't bother me that it's not like the comics. I don't know if you could accurately get the feel of the comics in film. It's such a stylized combination of art and writing, I don't think it would work. I've watched the animated shorts that mimic the artwork style and... they're fine, I guess? There's something to be said for a static image to linger on. I find the comics almost contemplative most of the time, even when they're mostly action and/or jokes.

All that to say I have no beef with the characters being different and the vibe be different. The movies have a thought-out world that's enjoyable to spend time in. I will admit having Liz be the girlfriend and getting pregnant adds zero to the story, and I wish she'd just been a coworker. Everything else: no notes.
posted by mrphancy at 8:40 AM on March 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

Liz didn't need to be the girlfriend, but it's fun to imagine Hellbaby.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:32 AM on March 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

I feel the payoff to that storyline is "I become ... Father?"

The drunk scene, yes, and that's part of why I love this movie: it's del Toro going full-on all-out on putting all the weird stuff he can into it. Open with a puppeteered sequence? Sure. Pause the movie halfway through so our leads can sing a Manilow song? Sure. Legless shiny-obsessed goblin leading us to creepy biblically-accurate angel? Sure. It's all batshit but it all works.

We were 100% robbed of a third del Toro/Perlman Hellboy movie -- for which there are several blatant sequel hooks here, van Krauss' untold "for another time" backstory and the Angel's end-of-the-world prediction -- and dang, we're never going to get it now.

(It was also very noticeable prepping this post that pretty much all the contemporary reviews close with notes of anticipation for del Toro's interpretation of The Hobbit and: *heavy sigh*.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:48 PM on March 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

I loved the first one. Hellboy 2 is generally higher regarded than the first. However, I significantly disliked part 2. Maybe it's just me.

Good parts:
* del Toro monsters

* the humor. Worst of it was the gag around the supposed profane pronounced-with-an-accent word "focused".
* the villains. Part 1: Rasputin! Nazis! Eldritch Gods! Part 2: petulant elves
* plot armor. The tooth fairies were interesting monsters, but it became obvious, even with the over-the-top peril they were in, none of the good guys would get hurt
* a few characters make big decisions only because the script calls for it
posted by kurumi at 2:46 PM on March 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

I agrere with you, kurumi. This one was kind of a mess.
posted by kyrademon at 4:05 AM on March 11, 2023

I must have seen this, but I don't remember any of it - and I should!

The art design is top notch. I loved the Troll Market, especially with it's Chekov's grinder-incinerator.

I liked Krauss (the whole concept) until it turned out to be an authoritarian.

Elf corpses look like honeycomb nougat. I wonder what they're supposed to taste like?
posted by porpoise at 5:21 PM on March 11, 2023

Rewatched; still so much fun.

What happened to Luke Goss? Still acting, says IMDB, but I don't think he got any more roles as big as this one.

Partner observes: Nuada's long hair is a convenience that makes it cheaper and easier to swap from Goss in the talking scenes to the stunt double in the fight scenes. And dang, once you see that you can't un-see it: pretty much all the time Nuada is fighting his hair is fully obscuring his face.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:42 PM on May 8

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