Completely original and stunningly realized, Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy is a masterstroke of awe-inspired entertainment that sparkles with bold storytelling that dares to go where no monster movie has gone before. Adapted from the original Hellboy comic miniseries The Seed of Destruction, the film takes creator Mike Mignola's dynamic graphic style and molds it into its own cinematic marvel, using a color palette that explodes around one of the strangest lead characters ever brought to the screen. However dark his origins might be, Hellboy (as brilliantly embodied by Ron Perlman) fits the American action-hero role to a T; full of witty one-liners and the first to fearlessly jump into the fray, the character is immediately personable and a perfect fit for the kind of bigger-than-life heroes to which people have flocked for years. What's wonderful, too, is that there's an incredible amount of heart to this beast -- in fact, to the whole film. When the movie's not wowing you with its stellar production design or thrilling you with its wall-to-wall action, the filmmakers have instilled real emotion into a story line that, for all good measure, probably wouldn't have been this juicy if it were not for del Toro. Bringing a loving humanity to each of this film's strange clique of characters isn't something that any storyteller would just pull out of their hat for a flick like this, which is all the more reason to soak it up here. For your buck, you not only get over-the-top action, but also a comical adventure that's based around a gothic tale of love and belonging (oh yes, with a whole lot of Lovecraftian horror for good measure). If that sounds like a little too much, don't worry, because all of those pieces only fit together only for the sake of pleasing you, the viewer. With a genuinely quirky score from Marco Beltrami that thankfully strays far away from Danny Elfman's recent cut-and-paste superhero jobs, Hellboy in every way looks, feels, and sounds completely different from anything else out there. If ever Hollywood had the cards stacked against it while selling a comic book idea to general audiences, this is it. The fact that it works is unbelievable. The fact that it's as fun as it is makes it that much more satisfying.
by Jeremy Wheeler review