Making the Grades
Saving humanity can be a hard and thankless job. Add to that the stress of a rocky relationship at home and things can be down right difficult. Such is the case for the gun-slinging Dark Horse comic character Hellboy (Ron Perlman).
Living in a secret government facility known as the Bureaus for Paranormal Research and Defense, Hellboy is transported in the back of a retrofitted garbage truck to the sight of crime scenes. He works with the fiery Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) who literally bursts into flames when she is upset, and the water-loving merman, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones). Their job is to intercept foreign life forms and prevent them from disrupting the humans' comfortable and clueless lifestyle.
However, the bulky, horned giant realizes it's time to bring out the big guns when a swarm of flesh-eating spiders consumes an entire roomful of patrons at an art auction. Arriving on location with an entourage of FBI agents, Hellboy and his pals watch in horror as two of the officers are also devoured--for dessert. Following a lead to an obscure troll market full of fantastical creatures, Hellboy and the others discover the man behind the spider attack.
A fairy prince who's been living in exile for centuries, Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) intends to resurrect a golden army of indestructible soldiers and wage an all-out attack on mankind. All he needs to revive the sleeping militia is one last piece of a magical crown. But, his twin sister, Princess Nuala (Anna Walton) possesses the charm and refuses to join her brother's destructive quest.
Not unexpectedly, intense hand-to-hand combat, swordplay, blasting gunfire and explosions all accompany the pistol-touting protagonist as he confronts the ageless antagonist. Other victims are impaled, crushed, beheaded and killed by a self-inflicted stab wound.
Yet the production counters all the gratuitous aggression with plenty of slapstick humor. Even the swaggering Hellboy and his fishy friend are reduced to a drunken evening of sing-a-longs when they are forced to face their feelings about the females in their lives. Other clowning by the cigar-chomping hero also helps lighten the film's feel. However, one prolonged battle after another makes this movie begin to drag by the time Hellboy and his cohorts finally confront the fully alert golden fighters.
Stocked with special effects, elaborate costumes and a huge cast of invented creatures, Hellboy provides viewers with plenty of visual effects. Yet despite his warm and fuzzy affinity for cats and candy bars, this big, cranky bulk of a hero will likely pack too much punch for most family viewers.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Hellboy 2 The Golden Army.
On what terms does Prince Nuada justify his war against the humans? Are his motives warranted? How does greed make a person insensitive to the needs or concerns of others?
Despite their efforts to save mankind, superheroes are often unappreciated—if not despised—by those they are helping. What examples are found in other supernatural stories? Why would someone continue to help those who don’t value his or her service?
How is Hellboy’s professional life impacted by his personal life? What do filmmakers do to portray his humanity?