Hellboy (2004)

(In theaters, April 2004) As an unconditional fan of director Guillermo del Toro, I may have been expecting a touch too much from this film, his logical follow-up to the exceptional Blade II. I’m not displeased by the end result, mind you: Anything which mixes Nazis, catholicism, demons, big guns and tentacular Lovecraftian creatures has my vote. But there’s something missing here. Maybe it’s the same-old shtick of making the first film of any superhero franchise an origin story. Maybe it’s the repetitive nature of the fights. Maybe it’s the unconvincing nature of the secret bureau described in the film, which sports a grand total of what seems to be five employees. Whatever it is stops Hellboy from vaulting on the top shelf… but don’t think that I don’t be in line to buy the DVD: From the good CGI to the great direction to Hellboy’s own blue-collar superhero shtick, there’s plenty to like anyway about this film. It’s just too bad that it can’t take the last step separating it from popcorn greatness.

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