Everything back to the beginning: With HELLBOY – CALL OF DARKNESS you can see the latest comic reboot. In our review we reveal why this is a merciless disappointment and what else you can expect from the film.
The Plot Summary
Half-demon Hellboy (David Harbour) has been fighting supernatural evil for decades. But now he has to deal with his sister mission: he has to stop the powerful witch Nimue (Milla Jovovich) and the monster Gruagach, who is devoted to her, who, together with a number of other mythical creatures, plan to bring death and destruction to people. But to get to their goal, they would need Hellboy. Because his destiny was once to start the end of the world himself – until his foster father Professor Broom (Ian McShane) brought him to the good side. When Hellboy finds out about this, he and his comrades-in-arms Alice (Sasha Lane) and Ben (Daniel Dae Kim) not only find themselves confronted with an army of darkness, but also with their very own demons…
Movie explanation of the ending
Reboots of existing franchises are a great opportunity. After the fourth Pierce Brosnan Bond, “Die Another Day”, was a huge outlandish affair and the spy genre developed in a rougher, more dramatic direction with the “Bourne” series, a character-driven, rough, dramatic reboot with Daniel Craig was made daring. Christopher Nolan also gave the Batman series a dramatic, more realistic makeover with The Dark Knight trilogy. “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” on the other hand, moved the friendly neighborhood spider into a simpler, more amused tone after the overloaded “The Amazing Spider-Man.” In short: Reboots allow studios and filmmakers to set up franchises in a tonally different way – and ideally to avoid previous mistakes and thus make better films. “Hellboy – Call of Darkness,” meanwhile, shows what a reboot shouldn’t do. Because the reboot of the “Hellboy” film series takes almost everything that made up Guillermo del Toro’s dilogy, throws it away and replaces it with banality.
David Harbor plays Hellboy alongside Alistair Petrie as Lord Alan Glarin.
Del Toro’s films thrived on an incredibly detailed, atmospheric set, prop and costume design; they created a dusty, slimy, scaly, wrinkled, tightly networked world full of monsters, gadgets, dirt and strange things – primarily brought to the screen using elaborate means Makeup ideas, setups, dolls and models. Combined with atmospheric lighting, the result was a believable, at times eerie, beautiful and oppressive film universe – even if it was not always close to the comics by author and illustrator Mike Mignola. “Hellboy – Call of Darkness”, on the other hand, was designed to move closer to Mignola’s stories, but the implementation is far removed from Mignola’s striking images. Instead, “Hellboy – Call of Darkness” is just one tiring dance around del Toro’s territory. Supporting characters from the “Hellboy” comics, who played a prominent role in del Toro’s work, are avoided here in order to get in the way of the previous “Hellboy” films, as is del Toro’s gothic, twisted world-building. Neil Marshall, who made a name for himself through two “Game of Thrones” episodes, among other things, makes his reinterpretation of the “Hellboy” comics look like any other US crime series, filtered in the same bluish-greenish-greyish color scheme , flatly exposed images – except that here a hellishly red giant walks through the picture and looks like a petulant teenager from the laundry.
So the mundane production design and completely banal direction deprive this “Hellboy” version of the atmosphere and visual effects of the del Toro version – but what do they offer instead? Well: In advance it was insisted that this “Hellboy” was harder. But that is only partially true. Yes, in both the USA and United Kingdom, “Hellboy – Call of Darkness” has a higher youth rating than the del Toro films (in the theatrical version) because there is a lot of blood. However, explicitness alone does not mean greater intensity: the laughably poorly animated CG blood that sprays towards the camera in almost every action sequence is simply empty visual information. The action scenes are so lamely staged and have such a tinny, indifferent sound mix that they just babble past us. With del Toro, there was significantly less violence in the On, but it was executed with an adept hand and presented in such believable, well-developed imagery that it felt much harsher, it affected us, even if it was twelve-year-olds due to the lack of unmistakable drama could be presented. Here, however, heads are bitten off and we just shrug our shoulders.
There are constant arguments between Hellboy and his father Professor Broom (Ian McShane).
Only an encounter (narratively completely unnecessary, levered into the plot with a crowbar) with the legendary figure Baba Yaga (who was also mentioned in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”) breaks Marshall’s paralyzing action plan. Lit in fog and revolving solely around two characters attacking each other, realized with detailed effect make-up, this sequence has a slight horror feel and stands out as the only striking film passage. The rest is made up of punchline-free exchanges of words, deliberate deviations from the actual plot that reference some “Hellboy” comics for no reason, and unmotivated, rambling, toothlessly formulated Hellboy’s inner conflicts. All of this in a sedate pace and free of memorable characterization. Ian McShane growls something together, “American Honey” star Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim are completely let down by the script and David Harbor looks good as Hellboy, but has to fight against the annoying, unwitty whining that comes with him puts the script in his mouth. Milla Jovovich alone is pleasing as a thickly lamenting, self-enjoying villain – it’s a shame that she has a jittery animated pig monster as a sidekick, which, thanks to unfinished shading, looks as if it was borrowed from a Playstation 3 cutscene. Yawn!
Conclusion: As rebellious and unconventional as Hellboy may feel in this film, “Hellboy – Call of Darkness” is not rough, not unconventional and not groovy, but simply incredibly boring.
“Hellboy – Call of Darkness” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from April 11th.