The first reviews for Hellboy reboot have surfaced on web, and they will feel pleasant to you only if you have been skeptical about the project.
The initial reactions to the 2017 announcement of a Neil Marshall-directed Hellboy reboot starring David Harbour were largely scathing. And why wouldn’t they be? This project’s birth meant only one thing to the fans: the demise of a third Guillermo del Toro-directed and Ron Perlman-starrer Hellboy movie.
But when the first look at Harbour’s incarnation of the Big Red arrived, many became convinced that they should give the R-rated reboot a chance. However, now that the first reviews are rolling in, not many are probably going to feel the same way.
Most critics are pretty much of the same mind that the Hellboy reboot is a disaster and shouldn’t have been made in the first place. The plot apparently doesn’t make sense while the characters are either dull or annoying. Performances by the cast members are unimpressive, and the CGI is terrible. Without further ado, let’s check out our collection of excerpts from the negative reviews!
Forbes‘ Scott Mendelson: To use the most cliché of all Shakespeare quotes, Hellboy is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It is filled to the grim with ghoulish sights, horrific violence, punishing (if deeply unpoetic) action and unapologetic (if arbitrary) fantasy elements. That’s on its face, a good thing. I imagine some will (no judgment) enjoy Hellboy purely for what it contains. But the story is a mishmash of barely comprehensible jumble, held together only by an expository prologue and a character arc cribbed from the first Hellboy movie and thematics borrowed from The Golden Army.
New York Times‘ Johnny Oleksinski: This awful, disgusting, unfunny, idiotically plotted comic book flick offends the senses as much as the rankest subway car on the hottest summer day. A fun-enough franchise back in the aughts, when it boasted future-Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, the new reboot has been turned into a sludge-colored “Resident Evil” wannabe by his successor Neil Marshall.
SlashFilm‘s Josh Spiegel: In a word, Hellboy is unpleasant. Other appropriate adjectives to describe this reboot include dreadful, obnoxious, unnecessary, and interminable. Considering the shadow cast by the two Hellboy films written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, it might be easy to presume that this new version simply pales in comparison. Though that’s true, let’s not belabor the point: this Hellboy is quite bad all on its own.
Chicago Tribune‘s Katie Walsh: With this noisy, fast, chaotic “Hellboy,” Marshall is at his most cheeky and most unhinged. It’s certainly… a lot. Harbour is an ideal choice to sport the crown of sawed-off horns as the demon with a heart of gold, an investigator working for his father (Ian McShane) at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Harbour has a warmth and humor that shines through all the prosthetics, and an ease with sarcastic wisecracks too. The snarky asides, which permeate even the solemn voice-over that opens the film (which starts in yes, the 5th century, with yes, King Arthur), let us know everyone here is in on the joke. It’s OK to laugh with the movie, even if it feels like we’re laughing at it.
Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman: It’s lunging to be a badass hard-R epic, but it’s basically a pile of origin-story gobbledygook, frenetic and undercooked, full of limb-hacking, eye-gouging monster battles as well as an atmosphere of apocalyptic grunge that signifies next to nothing.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore: But Neil Marshall’s Hellboy isn’t lousy because nobody wants it, nor only because it fails to live up to both its big-screen and its printed predecessors. It’s just lousy. Bloated, vastly less funny than it aims to be and misguided in key design choices even when it scores with less important decisions, the film does make bold choices that might’ve paid off under other circumstances. But these aren’t those circumstances.
LA Times‘ Justin Chang: The movie seems to spring from a curious awareness of how unnecessary it is, and it responds in the manner of an uninvited guest, with no interest in behaving or ingratiating itself. We are hurled, with a rude but fitting lack of ceremony, into a smorgasbord of R-rated horror and fantasy conventions, replete with weird detours into Arthurian legend, Mayan mythology and Slavic folklore, and rendered in the director’s preferred visual idiom of disemboweled corpses and beautifully art-directed entrails.
Inverse‘s Eric Francisco: The movie is a cinematic double-dog dare that asks if you really need working eyesight. Because if it isn’t its demonic imagery that’s just plain offensive to basic senses, it’s the dreary cinematography and dizzying editing that will make you wish for sweet release.
IGN‘s Meg Downey: The story itself tries to be much more faithful to the Hellboy comics than the Del Toro duology, but suffers from a completely unfocused series of intertwining plots. Sure, they’re all plots that Hellboy readers will likely recognize, at least in part, but the finished product feels a bit like comic book salad, various ideas and concepts from the books cut out and pasted together ransom note-style.
EW‘s Darren Franich: Hellboy occasionally offers Marshall’s dark swagger on a grand scale, an underworld unleashed with skin-ripping excess. But too much of the film is just bland cloudy-grim action set to lightweight metal machine music. At pivotal moments, the special effects can turn laughably bad.
And below, you can check out a couple of rare positive reviews for the Hellboy reboot!
TheWrap‘s William Bibbiani: Marshall’s “Hellboy” is a horrifyingly good time. It captures the breathless quality of reading 30 issues of a single comic-book series in one sugar-addled afternoon, shoving as many amazing characters and storylines and images into one film as it can possibly hold. It could have seemed overstuffed and frenetic, but this new “Hellboy” instead comes across as imaginative and freewheeling. Even the shocking violence is fun and humorous, harkening back to the good old days of splatstick horror classics like the “Evil Dead” and “Waxwork” movies.
Uproxx‘s Vince Mancini: Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy movies attempted to ground Hellboy‘s inherent weirdness and make him sympathetic. That’s largely Del Toro’s MO — take offbeat sci-fi and anchor it with heartfelt earnestness. By contrast, Marshall’s version is proudly, performatively bugfuck, an extended excuse for preposterously vulgar visuals.
As of writing, the Hellboy reboot has an approval rating of 10 percent at Rotten Tomatoes, with 39 reviews being counted. It remains to be seen whether the movie can manage to make any impact at the box office after being slammed by critics left and right.