Friday, July 11, 2008

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

As much of an insanely dedicated comic book aficionado as I am, I am getting really tired of the superhero flicks. If you'll notice, this will mark the 4th superhero movie I've reviewed in as many weeks. Unfortunately, I happen to be taking my frustration out on one of the more tolerable, if less well thought out plot-wise, being Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Back in all his red horned, cigar smoking glory, Ron Perlman is once again the lovable demon hellspawn with a heart of gold. He is flanked by his trusty teammates Abraham Sapien, the lonely psychic talking fish full of wistful wisdom and forlorn hand motions, girlfriend and dazzlingly well animated pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz Sherman, and newcomer Johann Kraus, the ectoplasmic fog being encased in a diving suit straight out of the 1950s. Mix together, stir vigorously, boil and stew in a crazy Elf prince hellbent on wiping out humanity by unleashing an army of 70 times 70 (that's 4,900 for those of us who forgot how to multiply) robots called the Golden Army, and voila, you have a fun, funny and visually compelling world that sadly, has no plot whatsoever.

Doom to Hollywood or salvation for it, this was a tough call. On the one hand is a dazzling world of monsters duking it out over humanities salvation/destruction fought with incredible special effects, compelling fight scenes and theater engulfing laughs. On the other was a plot that was neither here nor their. There are no twists, turns, corkscrews or otherwise anything remotely resembling much of any plot. Everything that transpires is pretty to look at and makes sense contextually, but it is perhaps the most ill thought out, pointless and asinine plot imaginable.

I am deeply disappointed in Oscar winning director Guillermo del Toro for meting out what is at once fun, funny and pretty to look at yet utterly nonexistent in its ability to get its audience wrapped up in the journey, the discovery, the excitement. Perhaps I'm merely over analyzing what is in fact an incredibly enjoyable movie. I laughed and I cheered with the audience with every joke and every exceptionally well choreographed fight scene, but at the end of the day, my reactions were superficial, I felt nothing for these characters except mindless enjoyment, they seemed unreal to me, well acted, but poorly driven by plot. I understand why they do what they do at an intellectual level, but I prefer for a movie to make me truly feel, and any blissful excitement I might have achieved was utterly ruined by a plot that ran the paces without rhyme or reason. When all is said and done, I am left unsure of Hollywood's abilities and I must condemn Hellboy II. A fan of the original film, I find myself now wondering if my memories of good, intelligent plots was in fact a pipe dream, a fantasy not unlike the the one del Toro does certainly craft so well with fine set pieces and excellent characters and action.

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