Ron Perlman is perfectly cast as Hellboy, he’s got a great sarcastic sense of humor, mixed with a slight bit of melancholy brought on by his being an outcast, but also an urge to perform his duty as a dispatcher of other-worldly things, because he’s the only one with the strength to face them. While his outside looks monster-ish, inside he’s human, thanks to his upbringing by Professor Bruttenholm, who found him at the site of a Nazi experiment with alternate dimensions. When the Nazi, who lead the experiment and was ultimately sucked into the void, returns to earth with the intention of recreating the world in his twisted image, it’s up to Hellboy and his team of misfits to save it.
Joining him are Abe Sapien, some kind of aqua-man, who doesn’t offer up much in the way of strength, but makes up for it in eternal-fishy genius; and Liz Sherman, played a bit too dour by Selma Blair, who has the power of flame. She’s also the love of Hellboy’s life, as the only girl to ever look at him without disgust. There’s a great scene where Hellboy escapes the lab, after being put in detention, to chase Liz into the world on a date with their new FBI keeper. Hellboy and the others chase down doggy-demons and undead-Nazi’s through a variety of subterranean locations, before Hellboy singly battles a colossus-demonic-cephalopod.
The thing that I liked most about Hellboy is his sarcastic sense of humor that he retains while everything is falling to pieces around him; he’s sort of Hell’s version of Han Solo, with the complaints disguised as quick wit, under the face of danger. The stony-red make-up that they’ve wrapped Ron Perlman in, grows on you through the course of the film, from absurd to a fully grown character by the end. Some of the computer effects are laughably bad, but for the most part, del Toro has created another wonderfully weird movie world. I’m now much more anxious to see the sequel, hopefully they retain the good parts, lose some of the bad, now that they have the slightly awkward origin story out of the way; and not make the mistake of going overboard on the bad guys, like so many comic book films unfortunately do; remain focused on Hellboy, he is the lovable star of the show.