Hellboy II: The Golden Army - B

Hellboy, everybody’s favourite demon spawn is back, as are the rest of the gang from the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Taking place a year after the first movie left off, the team, with the exception of Myers (who has been mysteriously transferred elsewhere) is reasonably intact. Things are a little hairy between Liz and "Red" but they’re still together. Abe Sapien is still as smart as ever, and Tom Manning still doesn’t trust Red. However, trouble starts brewing when an auction house is attacked and a piece of a crown, believed to be able to control an army of golden soldiers built to wage war on humanity, goes missing. The trouble magnifies when Hellboy decides to “go public” and let the world know that he really exists, causing Manning to bring in a new member to lead the team: Johann Kraus, who now only exists in the form of a vapour and maintains his form through the use of a containment suit.

The look of the film is just beautiful. It is clear that director Guillermo Del Toro has taken all the ideas and knowledge that he gained while making Pan’s Labyrinth, and used it to create a very memorable backdrop. The sheer tapestry of characters glimpsed at the troll’s market is incredible. It’s a shame, then, that movie seems to speed along at breakneck speed when all you want to do as an audience member is take it all in. And speed through the movie they do, which unfortunately means leaving some of the character arcs behind. In order to get to the action, or indeed the comedy, Del Toro leaves a lot of potential character moments slip by. Abe in particular seems to have drawn the short straw as far as character moments, by the end of the movie. Other characters in the movie are similarly dealt with. For instance, the villain, Prince Nuada lacks a clear motivation or arc to his story, which is a shame, as given his relationship to his sister, this would have been something worth exploring.

Still, as a visually stunning summer blockbuster, Hellboy II doesn’t disappoint. There are enough laugh out loud moments, not to mention some very fun action sequences to make you want to see more. And after seeing the kind of world Del Toro was able to create for this movie, it just leaves me eager with anticipation to see what he does with The Hobbit.

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