Directed by Neil Marshall, Hellboy 2019 stars David Harbour in the lead role and serves as a complete reboot of the character based on the Dark Horse Comics. Pitched initially as a sequel to the previous two (Guillermo del Toro) Hellboy films (which I hadn’t had the opportunity to watch). The movie later went ahead as a reboot due to some creative differences between del Toro and the production company with Ron Perlman not returning to play the titular character.
Nevertheless, the storyline of the film mirrors the same superhero narrative we’ve seen a million times before. The movie opens up with our lead character, Hellboy summoned by a British Intelligence agency to help them fight giant creatures and eliminate a paranormal threat, Nimue (Milla Jovovich). Who later contends to destroy mankind with her mystic abilities to kill and wreak havoc.
Off with the positives. For a first time viewer who has never watched a single Hellboy film before, I should say, for the initial 30 minutes of the narrative, I found myself decently entertained. The vibe and the setting of the film were appealing to the eye. And the go big or go home attitude of Neil Marshall, the director, was admirable.
However, for an origin film which is trying to set up and introduce the character of Hellboy, the narrative structure was all over the place. Screenwriter, Andrew Cosby keeps exploring these backstories which were so abrupt and random, nothing feels connected and didn’t transition to the very least with the ongoing narrative. The jump-cut editing style made it even more incoherent to a point where you just can’t comprehend what’s happening on-screen. And in-between all this narrative chaos, the character development, which is the most important element for any movie was thrown out of the window and is nowhere to be found.
Additionally, the movie tries so hard to be funny and falls flat every single time. The comedic aspects felt bland and ordinary as it tries to duplicate the Deadpool humor and fails miserably. Also, the movie takes full and sometimes over advantage of its R rating as the scenes were brainsick crazy and turbulent in every which way. The amount of gore and horridness every scene in the film possesses was at times too much to take in and will ultimately depend on your preference of either liking it or completing hating it.
Overall, even with a decent set of performances from the entire cast, especially by David Harbour, Hellboy 2019 is a maddening two-hour experience. With absolutely zero importance given to building up characters and a decent storyline, this film can be best described as a Chaotic Narrative Disaster.