Some superheroes focus on settling a score. Some learn lessons about responsibility, talent, and weakness. But for some, like Hellboy, being a superhero is just a job.
For director Guillermo Del Toro, the job of bringing the comic book hero Hellboy to the screen was a labor of love—love for comics, and especially for the work of artist Mike Mignola, Hellboy's creator. Del Toro effectively recreates Mignola's flair for shadows and big, bulky imagery. This is a comic book world quite unlike any we've seen before.
We get to know Hellboy through the eyes of John Myers (Rupert Evans), an FBI agent who has been transferred to the mysterious Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. He's welcomed there by a wizened geezer named Professor Bruttenholm (Alien's John Hurt in fine form). Bruttenholm shows him around this secret government freakshow, assuring him, "There are things that go bump in the night." Hellboy, the Bureau's most notorious weapon, is the biggest bumper of all.
This massive, red-skinned, horned devil from hell—the most disgruntled comic book hero to reach the big screen since Harvey Pekar—has abandoned the evil powers that spawned him. He's hard at work as a secret weapon for the Bureau. In his spare time, he consumes mass quantities of meat and carbs, plays with his collection of kittens, and lifts weights. When called upon, he pursues and destroys monsters and supernatural bad guys with an air of obligation, indifference, and sarcasm. Superman said, "Up, up and away!" Hellboy says, "Aw, crap." Saving the world is a chore, but he gets it done.
Speaking of chores, if Hollywood keeps turning out comic book movies at this rate, it is going to become tedious. The thrill of CGI special effects is wearing ...1
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