Columbia Pictures | Release Date: April 2, 2004
8.7
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Universal acclaim based on 479 Ratings
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Positive:
414
Mixed:
50
Negative:
15
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10
juliankennedy23Aug 20, 2014
Hellboy: 10 out of 10: Hellboy is one of the three best comic book adaptations of the last ten years. Now considering the recent spate of mediocre comic book adaptations this is a bit like winning a beauty contest at a fat farm. Hellboy isHellboy: 10 out of 10: Hellboy is one of the three best comic book adaptations of the last ten years. Now considering the recent spate of mediocre comic book adaptations this is a bit like winning a beauty contest at a fat farm. Hellboy is simply head and shoulders above those.

It is on par with the recent Spiderman movies (Hellboy sports a better hero and better CGI effects while Spiderman takes the nod in the love interest and villains categories) better than the X-men films and simply puts other comic book adaptations to shame (League of Extraordinary Gentleman should be particularly embarrassed)

Hellboy starts with a rip-off of one of the last scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark and introduces such horrible clichéd villains as Nazi babe and Rasputin. Yet the scene works. Director Guillermo del Toro nails a comic book style to the direction that keeps the action and humor going during the most implausible circumstances. Another kudos is in order for the special effects, both make-up (which is spot on) and CGI. Now I seem to hate most CGI effects.

Many a big-budget Hollywood film has come out recently with horrible special effects that stick out despite 50 million plus budgets. Hellboy's effects are simply seamless where one forgets that entire characters and locations are digitally generated. The acting is also seamless with lead Ron Perlman giving a scene stealing cigar chomping performance that rivals Daniel Day Lewis's turn in Gangs of New York and Jeffrey Tambor turning a stock cliché (obstructionist bureaucrat who wants to shut everything down) into a humanistic sympathetic character. (This is also an example of very smart writing that makes even the clichéd characters into three-dimensional figures.)

While all is not perfect (In addition to Nazi Chick and Rasputin we also have a Clock/Sand Nazi and a Space Cthulhu as an improbable villains) Hellboy is better than an action movie should be, much better than a comic book adaptation ought to be, and immeasurable better than a movie called Hellboy deserves to be.
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3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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8
Compi24Nov 28, 2012
With an amiable lead performance from Ron Perlman and some truly phenomenal visuals, "Hellboy" proves to be an extremely engaging cinematic experience.
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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8
EpicLadySpongeMay 4, 2016
Based on the superhero by Mike Mignola for Dark Horse Comics, this movie brings the absolute reason why hell should be imposed to come out at any second from now.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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7
Cinemassacre94Mar 20, 2016
Like superheroes from Spider-Man down to the Blue Beetle, Hellboy looks like he could have no other name. What else could you call a being with bright-red fireproof skin and a pointy tail? Only the horns are missing, and that'sLike superheroes from Spider-Man down to the Blue Beetle, Hellboy looks like he could have no other name. What else could you call a being with bright-red fireproof skin and a pointy tail? Only the horns are missing, and that's because—according to one character in Hellboy, the new adaptation of Mike Mignola's comic book—he files them off "to fit in." Found 60 years ago by soldiers breaking up a mystic Nazi ritual, Hellboy now works alongside other well-intentioned freaks in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. He's a demon from another dimension, but he's all-American at heart.

Hellboy is a great character, and he's brought to life with gruff tenderness by Ron Perlman, the go-to actor for finding the humanity in oversized creatures: The list of actors who could make high drama out of fighting a monster with one hand while holding a crate full of kittens in the other remains pretty short. But the film around Perlman never quite finds its footing. Writer-director Guillermo del Toro recently created a mood of sustained, meaningful dread in The Devil's Backbone and turned Blade II into an exercise in unrelenting action. He's versatile, but he can't seem to make up his mind about what kind of film he wants to make. Hellboy uneasily mixes Men In Black-style gags with straight-faced drama, which mostly revolves around Selma Blair as a woman with an unfortunate tendency to burst into flames.

Hellboy feels more at ease when it errs on the side of comedy, throwing in gags about Perlman's love of pancakes and cats, letting him fill the floor with discarded love notes to Blair, and giving him a grumpy talking skeleton as a sidekick. It looks great, too—it loses Mignola's woodcut-inspired art, of course, but stays true to the world of the comic.

Too bad the story and, more surprisingly, the action never come alive. The villains, even a reincarnated Rasputin, don't pack much menace, and the fight scenes mistake busy for thrilling. With its oddly charming setup and weirdly appealing characters, Hellboy is pretty much impossible not to like a little, but it's also hard to like a lot. There's a fantastic film to be made from this material, but now, the burden of making it falls to a sequel.
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0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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8
JohnH.Apr 4, 2004
An enjoyable adventure flick. Not perfect, but definitely the most entertaining theatre excursion so far this year.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
PrinsM.Mar 6, 2008
Good adaptation of an awesome graphic novel.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
AndrewB.Jul 10, 2008
To not be charmed or entertained by this film would require either a heart of stone or an utter lack of taste in entertainment. It does an excellent job of creating a comic book feel and look, and Ron Perlman's hellboy is more than To not be charmed or entertained by this film would require either a heart of stone or an utter lack of taste in entertainment. It does an excellent job of creating a comic book feel and look, and Ron Perlman's hellboy is more than likable enough to carry multiple films. So what if the plot can be a bit hard to follow at times. Since when did that matter much for a comic book film? Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
OliverC.Jan 14, 2007
As much as the acting and writing could have been improved, Del Toro still brought us the best looking monsters i've ever seen in a movie. And that's no mean feet.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
ERG1008Aug 23, 2010
Nazis open evil portal helped by evil monk, hellboy arrives, US troops shut portal, 60 years later, Hellboy works for Government, evil monk returns..
Slightly better than average superhero picture with some decent effects & good action scenes
Nazis open evil portal helped by evil monk, hellboy arrives, US troops shut portal, 60 years later, Hellboy works for Government, evil monk returns..
Slightly better than average superhero picture with some decent effects & good action scenes let down by awkward story telling.
Ron Perlman is pretty good in the lead despite the cliched dialogue & the 107 year old Nazi assassin is a right nasty piece of work.
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0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
TheQuietGamerMar 10, 2011
A truly enjoyable movie, while it borrows some elements from Wolfenstien like Germans opening a portal to hell during WWII, and a top secret government paranormal defence agency, but the unique science fiction plot will have you hooked, aA truly enjoyable movie, while it borrows some elements from Wolfenstien like Germans opening a portal to hell during WWII, and a top secret government paranormal defence agency, but the unique science fiction plot will have you hooked, a blast to watch with great action and humor, truly enjoyable. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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8
heybuddymoviesAug 1, 2011
I had heard of Hellboy before, but had never read a single comic, but when that first magnificent trailer came out, I was looking forward to this one big time. It just had a fantastic look to it and once I finally saw it, it also had a goodI had heard of Hellboy before, but had never read a single comic, but when that first magnificent trailer came out, I was looking forward to this one big time. It just had a fantastic look to it and once I finally saw it, it also had a good story to go with that look. Ron Perlman is Hellboy, fantastic casting in this situation. Guillermo Del Toro has a very unique look to his films that are inventive and magnificent. It was funny, engrossing, the cinematography was excellent (Hellboy against a snowy backdrop looks awesome!) and its pace was great. Most like the sequel better, but while it was a great sequel, for me it didnâ Expand
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7
SpangleJan 31, 2017
Man, these superhero movies have always been the same, eh? Even in 2004, terrific director Guillermo del Toro turns out just another superhero movie that follows the hero's journey throughout and has a horrible boring white male sidekick.Man, these superhero movies have always been the same, eh? Even in 2004, terrific director Guillermo del Toro turns out just another superhero movie that follows the hero's journey throughout and has a horrible boring white male sidekick. Fortunately, Del Toro is such an impressive director, his stylistic inclinations rise above the tame and boring superhero material he is given in this film. Gothic with great mythology behind it, Hellboy is a compelling film with great visual effects and remains constantly engaging and compelling thanks to Del Toro and a stellar lead performance by Ron Perlman as the Nazi-summoned demon good guy. Unfortunately, the film is still derided by its lame and predictable story.

Opening in terrific fashion with Hellboy being summoned, his rescue, and then the introduction to the Paranormal Bureau headed by Trevor Broom (John Hurt), Del Toro manages to create great scope to the film. While it devolves into typical end of the world fare later on, the opening half hour with Hellboy fighting the hellhound in the museum and the introduction and usage of Abe Sapien is tremendous. If the entire film was just Hellboy and Abe Sapien kicking butt, I would have loved this film. But, instead, every comic book superhero movie must devolve into being a "save the world" hero's journey and end up with lame fight scenes between our hero and the big bad guy. This makes the film feel incredibly stale, even if if was one of the first of the wave of superhero movies we have gotten in the 21st century. It bears all the lame and tame marks that continue to deride the genre as it feels sterilized and overly restrained from going in more interesting directions with its story. Instead, Hellboy was merely one of the first films that showed superheroes could be compressed into the hero's journey, regardless of who they are, and the film will turn out pretty good. If this came out next year, it would be an unchanged film and fit into the current trend just fine.

That said, Del Toro's gothic style and influence is all over this film with gorgeous shadowy locals and castles. This infuses the film with his visual style, which was always going to be a very, very good thing. The film greatly benefits from this, often rising above its superhero cliches. The gorgeous cinematography and awesome visual effects also play a role, especially when Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) is on fire. The shot of her and Hellboy kissing at the end with both enveloped in flame is terrific and a great lasting image from this film. Along with the poetic dialogue accompanying this final sequence, the finale - even in spite of the asinine fight scenes - is stellar and why I tune in no matter what Del Toro is attached to and directs. The film also suffers from Generic White Male Actor #7 and his large role in the film. He really adds nothing but bland dialogue, bland looks, bland stares, and bland communication. Compared to the lively and fully game Perlman and the always impeccable John Hurt, Rupert Evans is just so damn lame. I have no idea why del Toro added him in when the film was just fine without his addition. To paint him as a sort of "knight" and hero in his own right was borderline comical as well. If this were from a lesser director, having an audience surrogate this bad with bland action could be the final nail in the coffin. Fortunately, Del Toro elicits such good performances from the rest of the cast that the acting, on the whole, is quite good. Put together with great visuals, there is still a lot to like about Hellboy and that is likely why it has remained so popular.

Given scope and purpose, Hellboy feels tremendous in the first half. Unfortunately, it gives way to the hero's journey trappings of its story, which makes it nothing more than yet another superhero movie. Fortunately, the acting is so good and Del Toro is so talented, Hellboy still manages to be a riveting and truly engaging superhero movie that shows off just what can happen when talented people make a superhero movie. That said, if talented people could steer clear of this crap material in the future, it would be much appreciated.
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7
SuperheroMoviesSep 5, 2013
Sporting a great quantity of keen visuals and impressive costume designs, Del Toro's comic adaptation manages to astonish with its unique style and appealing characters.
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7
homer4presidentMar 28, 2015
Hellboy is an amazing thrill ride. Not only was it great to pick Ron Perlman, it was great to make this movie. The plot was fun, the effects and music were great, and the fish guy was awesome. My only tiff is sometimes the effects wereHellboy is an amazing thrill ride. Not only was it great to pick Ron Perlman, it was great to make this movie. The plot was fun, the effects and music were great, and the fish guy was awesome. My only tiff is sometimes the effects were cheesy. But if you can deal with that youll love this movie. Expand
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8
aadityamudharApr 19, 2016
With an amiable lead performance from Ron Perlman and some truly phenomenal visuals, "Hellboy" proves to be an extremely engaging cinematic experience.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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8
MovieMasterEddyApr 7, 2016
Sci-fi/fantasy extravaganza is a labor of love for helmer Guillermo del Toro, and acknowledged comic buff. Based on Mike Mignola's cult-fave comic series, pic has more than enough across-the-board appeal to attract mainstream auds unfamiliarSci-fi/fantasy extravaganza is a labor of love for helmer Guillermo del Toro, and acknowledged comic buff. Based on Mike Mignola's cult-fave comic series, pic has more than enough across-the-board appeal to attract mainstream auds unfamiliar with source material.

Inspired primarily by “Seed of Destruction,” Mignola’s first “Hellboy” story cycle, and “The Corpse,” a later tale recently reissued by Dark Horse, del Toro’s scenario occasionally echoes “Men in Black,” “X-Men,” del Toro’s own “Mimic” — and more than a few classic tales by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.

Effective blood-and-thunder prologue set during WWII introduces Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (initially played by Kevin Trainor) as a supernatural expert for Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, a super-secret U.S. organization dedicated to battling German efforts to wage war with black magic.

On a dark, stormy night in Scotland, Broom and an Army commando unit interrupt curiously undead Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden) as the infamous Russian mystic leads Nazi scientists and soldiers in an effort to use a “Hell-Hole Generator” to transport Ogdru Jahad (a.k.a., Seven Gods of Chaos) to Earth. A gun battle, the pic’s first spectacular set piece, ensues. After the battle, Rasputin disappears with two key associates — Kroenen (Ladislav Beran), masked and blade-wielding immortal, and Ilsa (Bridget Hodson), icy blond beauty. But Broom and commandos find the generator did manage to transport a surprise package: A bright red imp festooned with horns and a pointed tail. Broom names the foundling Hellboy.

Sixty-plus years later, anailing, aging Broom (John Hurt) is still aligned with Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, and is still serving as surrogate father to Hellboy (Ron Perlman). Latter has grown into a massive and muscular figure with a misshapen right hand (credit Rick Baker for spot-on Hellboy makeup).

Big guy smokes cigars, gobbles Baby Ruths and speaks in the terse, tough-guy argot of a film noir hero. But he keeps his horns filed downso the stubs resemble a pair of goggles pushed onto his forehead.

Hellboy lives with Broom at BPRD headquarters in Newark, N.J., usually venturing out only to aid in investigation and destruction of paranormal threats. Occasionally, however, he takes unauthorized trips into the outside world, causing “Hellboy sightings” that must be explained away by government spokesperson — and, secretly, BPRD supervisor — Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor).

Lately, Hellboy has repeatedly gone AWOL to reconnect with sad-eyed Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who fled BPRD and committed herself to a mental hospital because she fears she can no longer control her fire-spreading, pyrokinetic powers. H.B. loves her, of course, but duty calls. Along with fellow BPRD regular Abe Sapien (played by Doug Jones, amusingly voiced by unbilled David Hyde Piece), a scaly and telepathic “gill man” who thrives underwater, H.B. joins Broom and other agents at a Manhattan museum where an immense monster is wreaking havoc. The monster, Sammael(Brian Steele), a well-nigh indestructible beast, resembles the love child of “Alien” and an octopus. Sammael and its spawn are controlled by the newly revived Rasputin.

Pointedly disdaining the current craze for wire work and martial artistry in movie mayhem, del Toro provides an abundance of two-fisted, straight-shooting action throughout “Hellboy.” Title character’s dust-ups with Sammael and other icky creeps are at once rousingly exciting and explosively funny, often playing like oversized smackdowns between WWE superstars.

However, del Toro isn’t always attentive to coherent transitions while warp-speeding through his storyline. Worse, he occasionally neglects to prepare uninitiated auds with context from the comic books.

Well-cast thesps generate rooting interest in their individual characters, thereby propelling plot momentum through sheer force of their colorful personalities. Del Toro provides nifty quirks and eccentricities for characters: Edgy relationship between Hellboy and Manning (well played by Tambor) builds toward amusing pay-off. Ultimately, on-screen actors (and unseen Pierce) prove to be pic’s most important special effects.

Perlman is terrifically boisterous and literally larger than life in title role, yet also elicits sympathy. In this, he is immeasurably aided by Hurt, who’s genuinely poignant in his relationship with Broom’s “son.”

Blair offers a career-best performance as Liz, conveying a wealth of mixed emotions with each wanly melancholy smile. Newcomer Rupert Evans is engagingly game as John Myers, a young FBI agent. Production designers and f/x supervisors are fantastically impressive in their rendering of del Toro’s darkly imaginative take on “Hellboy” mythos.
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