Hellboy

Hellboy’s gothic production design and striking, occasionally-disturbing use of make-up means it’s recognisably a film by Guillermo del Toro; the overall look is probably the main reason why it feels concomitant with the visual stylist’s other work, slotting into his filmography comfortably as the bridge between Blade II and Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s also a superhero movie that manages to consistently entertain, with its smashy-smashy sequences and stream of quips, most of which are uttered by the world-weary, cigar-chomping demonic protagonist. Hellboy is a memorable hero, played with skill and charm by Ron Perlman, and the string of baddies and slimy creatures he must fight also ensures that this one stands out from the pack. If the sight of giant monsters coming through a portal in the sky to bring about the end of the world feels a little rote today, it’s only because Marvel and DC’s recent films have leant on Hellboy for their McPlots in the interim. Pleasingly shoddy effects at times, too. (***½)