Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

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The infernal superhero and his team reunite to stop an elfin prince from reawakening a dormant robotic army to wage war on mankind.

One thing that you can take for granted when it comes to films by Guillermo Del Toro is that they are going to look absolutely fantastic; the wonderful art design shares the look of some of his earlier Gothic fairy tales such as Pan’s Labyrinth, as well as the combination of fantasy and eco-message that is the trademark of Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Myazaki – the most visually extraordinary example being the stunning death of the forest elemental. The troll’s market is also worth a mention, which is akin to a Tim Burton reinvention of Mos Eisley, but as I said the quality of the imagery was never going to be in doubt. The story has a combination of fantastic creatures, epic battles and Men In Black style visual gags that comes across as The Return Of The King with a sense of humour. The jokes aren’t top drawer, but it’s always amusing and the frenetic action sequences are exciting and fun. Ron Perlman is as reliable as always and Luke Goss once more plays a charismatic and multi-layered villain; the only real weaknesses are the somewhat corn-infested love interests. In fact I couldn’t help thinking that the darker edges of Del Toro’s vision were probably tempered in an attempt to appeal to the Harry Potter market.

As a whole, Hellboy II is a lot of fun and as always seems to be the case with superhero movies, is rather better than the first film.

7/10

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