What a thrill ride! This 2004 Action/Fantasy/SciFi is directed by a pre-Pan’s Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro which means that it wasn’t cluttered by all that pretentious “art direction” and was just old-fashioned home grown fun.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, Hellboy is a demon child who was summoned by the Nazi’s through a supernatural portal to destroy all their enemies/maybe the human race. They fucked it up though and a well-meaning scientist got a hold of him (with two Baby Ruth’s!) and raised him to be not the devil.
(This is just from the movie- anytime there’s a comic book/film adaptation you have to deal with the nerd police so I’ll just disclaimer that right now).
Hellboy grows up to be just like any of us, bright red with the musculature of a small gorilla, loves nachos and smokes cigars. Just your typical run of the mill rescue demon. There are two other additions to the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (one of those pesky FBI branches) that Hellboy grows up with: a psychic fish-man who might be reincarnated Abraham Lincoln (? or they just named him that because they found him the year he died. Unclear)-Abe Sapien, and Liz Sherman, a pyrokinetic AND love interest. Busy girl! Liz (played by Selma Blair) keeps leaving the Bureau to go to a low security mental institution and “find herself” lol don’t we all.
They have a classic Sam and Diane thing going on, just with more occult stuff. The story picks up when a recent graduate from the academy is picked to be Hellboy’s new “liason.” The scientist (Dr. Broom) who rescued/raised him firmly believes in free will and ‘choice’ (remember that for later! It’s an “important” “theme”) so Hellboy can come and go when he pleases but he needs a human to accompany him/do things for him, namely because he looks like something from the scary parts of the Bible.
So Myers, the fresh faced FBI grad gets in way over his head early on, and boy does he ruffle a few feathers. Namely because he has the hots (lol) for ole Liz and Hellboy gets hella jealous (ok I’ll stop). But their petty rift is put on the back burner (ok NOW I’ll stop) once they realize that Rasputin is raising a velociraptor squid army to reopen the portal and destroy all of humanity. So annoying.
Another boring archetype, I mean character, in the movie is Tom Manning (George Sr. from Arrested Development) a hotheaded spokesperson for the FBI who makes it clear that he doesn’t like Hellboy or “his kind” and that he thinks he should be locked up. They butt heads on a lot of little things, then later in the film when the proverbial shit hits the fan, they overcome their differences and help one another. Their newfound respect and friendship is cemented by a scene in which Manning shows Hellboy that lighting your cigar with wooden matches preserves the flavor more. Men bonding over cigars? What will these crazy cats think up next??
So anyway, yeah, apparently all evil is connected because the Nazi’s and Rasputin are on the same team in this, as is the devil (?). There’s also this intense blonde woman of indeterminate age and origin who is in love with Rasputin and does his bidding. It’s unexplained how she remained alive/the same age during WW2 and then this subsequent evil plot, but you should never ask a woman her beauty secrets! Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s the preserved spirit of an evil dictator! Beauty is pain.
But I digress. These velociraptor squid things keep laying their eggs all over the damn place and whenever you kill one another two are born. So they realize they have to kill all of them + all the eggs at once. They’re super strong and only really react to fire, so thank god they have a girl who can generate that with her body! Um, kind of predictably the FBI/Hellboy follow these things into the Nazi/Russian den of evil (the subway) and blow them all up. Myers, the human FBI agent with a crush and a side part manages to survive this inferno unscathed because he hides behind a rock and as we all know, fire can’t go behind rocks.
So they’re all alive except Broom who was killed by the Nazi assassin who’s blood is dust (and who had his eyelids and lips surgically removed, gotta get rid of those wrinkles somehow!) which sort of fueled Hellboy’s revenge killing. BUT THEN oh no! They’re all captured (Myers, Liz, Hellboy)! Hellboy is in some kind of devil yoke which will only unlock when he speaks his true name which is something evil in Latin (lol isn’t it all?). He does it and starts to unlock the demon portals with his stone hand because Rasputin sucked Liz’s soul out of her body and said it was waiting for him on the other side. (Aww!) But then Myers breaks free from his normal unpossessed shackles and throws Broom’s rosary to Hellboy while yelling, “You have a choice!” (Told ya). The rosary burns a cross into Hellboy’s skin and he decides to save the human race/planet after all. He tears off his horns (which he had been filing down his whole life to “fit in” that had suddenly grown full horn when he agreed to the whole destroy the Earth thing. I have a problem with the symbolism of this which I can talk about later.) and flouts yes FLOUTS the whole plan and then kills the Master demon squid that had been living inside Rasputin (no one’s really evil! It’s just a race of evil squids living INSIDE them!). Also he killed the Master demon squid in way less time than it took him to kill one of the spawn squid minions in the subway, but maybe he had coffee or something.
So now, there’s just Hellboy, soulless Selma, and third wheel Myers. But good news for anyone who’s ever cared about another person: apparently if you truly love someone, after they die if you just say their name to them they will come back to life! I guess that means I didn’t truly love my Grandma 😦
Then Selma and Hellboy exchange tender words, then they make out engulfed in blue flames as Myers stands by and watches, while waxing poetic about the nature of existence.
Overall solid, 7/10 would masturbate again