Hellboy 2019

We finally got around to seeing the 2019 Hellboy movie. The one without del Toro and Perlman. Instead we get Neil Marshall and David Harbour. As an added bonus, we also get Lovejoy - I mean Ian McShane - as Prof Broom, and Thomas Haden Church as Lobster Johnson.

This is not like the earlier movies - it is much, *much* closer to Mike Mignola's graphic novels in feel, and this is reflected in the R-18 rating.

Mike's novels have a very distinctive flow to them, and are meticulously researched. This movie reflects that research and the somewhat odd pacing, which some people may find a little off-putting. The research takes you across a dozen mythologies and legends, and binds  them together to make a magical tapestry of horror and wonder. The pacing leaves you breathless when you are expecting respite, and still gives you a few moments to catch your breath - but  by the time you've realised it, it is too late.

Laws of physics are routinely ignored - and the  characters are aware of this, but they've seen it all before, so they make a joke and move on. They never try to explain the violations, they simply expect them. Especially when Hellboy is involved. Likewise the supernatural. It is expected, not an exception.

The movie takes a half dozen or so of the graphic novels, and pulls threads from each to  spin into the thread of the story. This means that some of the areas around the edges of the sources are  dropped, and their context is re-created  from  another tale. The end result is a coherent whole, but one that requires either multiple watchings or a knowledge of the source material.

This is, I think, where the critics fell foul of the movie. They were expecting one thing, and got something very different. But different is not bad, and in this case, it is very good. The acting is solid - Sasha Lane as Alice  is gold, and Daniel Dae Kim's Ben Daimio is suitably bitter. David Harbour's Hellboy is priceless (and you could probably create a full fan-vid of Tubthumping from his scenes alone). 

It is very, very gory and gruesome. Much like the graphic novels are. Expect to see many limbs, organs, and blood not being in the places they are meant  to be. 

All up, I'd give it a solid 9/10, and a splatter flick with a PhD on the Sid and Nancy scale.


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