Hellboy 2019 is a complete reboot of the franchise, based on the comic book character created by Mike Mignola. There have been two previous Hellboy movies made in 2004 and 2008. Both of these films were written and directed by the brilliant Guillermo del Toro and were huge successes. So, did del Toro contribute anything to this film? Well, no is the answer. It was a much-anticipated film, but is it any good? After seeing the second trailer, I could not wait to see this remake. But it was so, so disappointing.
Firstly Mike Mignola co-wrote Hellboy 2 with Guillermo del Toro and this film started off as being the final of a trilogy. Then the decision to exclude del Torro from co-writing was made. Both Guillermo del Toro and the original Hellboy Ron Pearlman rejected the project. Then Mike Mignola put forward the idea of this being a look at the real Hellboy and things started to change. The film was going to be R rated and it seemed that we were going to see a badder, darker and possibly better Hellboy. And, I was more than ready to give it a go regardless of my reservations.
On the positive side, this reboot was getting a new director. Neil Marshall has made some unique films like Dog Soldiers and also directed, arguably one of the best episodes of Game of Thrones. So, this choice provided so much promise. Especially alongside the big statements from Mignola. However, if the reports are to believed, Neil Marshall had little to no control over the final version of the film. In fact, he was so disappointed he did not show up to the premiere.
Hellboy 2019 also got a new cast. Even though I loved Ron Pearlman's version, I really wanted to see what David Harbour could do with it and for me, he did a good job. Although there always seems to be something missing. Ian McShane was cast as Hellboy's dad and again is solid as ever. Mila Jovovich plays the baddie, which again seemed a promising choice. However, it seemed clear that even talent like this struggled with the script and they all come across as trying too hard with their roles.
So, is there anything good about Hellboy 2019? There are lots of great fight scenes and some great new characters are introduced. However, none of them link together in a fluid way. Yes, each of these elements is entertaining in their own right and therefore the film does succeed in being entertaining.
All in all, if you have never seen the first two Hellboy films then your expectations may be met. You could even accept it as a reasonable monster comic book flick. But really Hellboy 2019, is too long and too jumbled up. It lacks character substance and it's clear that too many people were involved in the end result. I wish that Guillermo del Toro and Ron Pearlman had their chance to make the planned Hellboy 3. I have watched Hellboy 2019 three times in the hope that it would get better. But it doesn't, it gets worse.