Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Guillermo del Toro’s sequel, continuing the adventures of Mike Mignola’s cigar-chomping demon turned protector (from the Dark Horse comic series), runs heavy on showy effects: all the goo that Del Toro’s Oscar prestige can buy. And yet, Ron Perlman’s growly characterization of the antihero remains redeeming. Even though we’re underground chasing some albino dude with a sword, the prevailing attitude is less Tolkienesque than Men in Black casual. There’s even a drunken sing-along to a Barry Manilow tune. Ultimately—and this is to Del Toro’s credit—he wants to make a film about the struggle to heed our better angels: Perlman’s Hellboy is constantly reminded of his inborn potential for destruction, yet he’d rather lean into his role as a future father. The three-disc set is ridiculously overgeeked with extras, including a two-hour featurette that probably gives you enough technical know-how to design your own creatures. (Do we really need the in-office brainstorming sessions?) Consensus among cast and crew is that Del Toro is both a little boy and a genius.