Hellboy

Even with my indifference to del Toro's Hellboy and The Golden Army, they're both justifiably better than this pestilent reboot. Gorehounds will have a blast, as jaws are ripped, bodies are impaled, limbs are slashed, and heads are squashed. (So overdone that it's genuinely hilarious.) Until I acknowledged that it relished at the expense of everything else. The tone here is also just nauseatingly arrhythmic—altering from apocalyptic portent, to electric-guitar riffs; sometimes within the same scene. Why!? For two hours, it's impossible to settle into this groove.

Case in point: the Dark Ages intro scene where Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) is disemboweled into a casket, is followed by Hellboy's (David Harbour) "comical" present-day adventures at a Tijuana Luche Libre match. That's the entire structure here, and is only worsened by more mindnumbing asides. The conception of this new Hellboy is now distasteful to me; Harbour renders him as a lumbering, angsty loser (in contrast to Perlman's brazen, yet soulful version), and the back hair implants are only bound for ridicule! Meanwhile, the rest is filled with too many paranormal villains, banal exchanges in the BPRD rooms, and alliances that aren't that supportive.

The inclusion of taciturn father Bruttenhold (Ian MacShane), feisty psychic Alice (Sasha Lane) and scarred military sidekick Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) are almost superfluous when Hellboy becomes Anung Un Rama. Just as egregious, is how the numerous villains make the supposedly front-and-center Nimue almost pointless. Not that I was invested in Jovovich's generic bellowing, but she's interrupted by a profanity-laden wild boar, screeching mutants, decomposing witch Baba Yaga, the Osiris Club, and three giants who all decide to attack Hellboy. As the dramatic stakes are risen, and Hellboy's put on a good-or-evil rumination to join Nimue, the expected self-considered poignancy is drowned out by another misplaced guitar riff. Terrible.

Topping off on a rare positive note: I enjoyed the wacky 1992 flashback of baby Alice that reveals why Hellboy's decided to show guidance for her. The same goes for the 1944 Scotland reprieve (which actually eclipses del Toro's intro), because Lobster Johnson makes a delectable appearance. The revelation of Anung Un Rama, too, is done with more imposing badassery than he's ever likely to get. The rest, though, is a constant migraine which doesn't dissipate until the end. This can't decide between two aspects; grimly medieval doom or vacuous meathead humour, with the whole sequential structure utilizing that. Cue the Mötley Crüe needle-drop to slo-mo hacking and I should've checked out way earlier.