This summer, comic-book fans have been spoiled for choice at the multiplex. But despite the hype of "Iron Man" or anticipation of "The Dark Knight," for a select few this season is about one thing: "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."
Those fans will be gratified by Guillermo del Toro's affectionate sequel to his 2004 film "Hellboy," in which he introduced the screen's most lovable anti-superhero, a giant the color of boiled lobster with Chiclet teeth and a really bad attitude. The great Ron Perlman is back as the cigar-smoking, chocolate-addicted lug, who again is joined in his exploits by his equally funny and flawed cohorts: the gentle, blue-gilled Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), now Hellboy's girlfriend and still prone to literally fiery outbursts.
Del Toro co-wrote "Hellboy II" with the comic's creator, Mike Mignola, so the enterprise reeks of authenticity and is shot through with the franchise's signature goofiness, sarcasm and good heart. There are terrific new characters, including Johann Krauss, a hilarious addition to Hellboy's team, and the white-haired villain Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), and such memorable set pieces as a visit to a troll market underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and a moment involving Hellboy, Abe and Barry Manilow. As he has done in all his movies, from creature features such as "Mimic" to serious dramas such as "Pan's Labyrinth," del Toro creates unforgettable images, filled with color, texture, lyricism and horror.
-- Ann Hornaday (July 11, 2008)
Contains sci-fi action, violence and profanity.