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Top 10 Reasons Hellboy (2019) Is the Worst

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Hell has three gates; lust, anger, and this movie. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons Hellboy 2019 is the Worst. For this list, we’re taking a look at reasons why the 2019 “Hellboy” movie failed both as a reboot of Guillermo del Toro’s films and as an adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comics. For anyone who’s still interested in seeing the movie anyway, keep in mind there will be a couple of spoilers. Watch the video at

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Top 10 Reasons Hellboy 2019 is the Worst

Hell has three gates; lust, anger, and this movie. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons Hellboy 2019 is the Worst.

For this list, we’re taking a look at reasons why the 2019 “Hellboy” movie failed both as a reboot of Guillermo del Toro’s films and as an adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comics. For anyone who’s still interested in seeing the movie anyway, keep in mind there will be a couple of spoilers.

#10: It Has the Nerve to Tease Sequels

A bad movie is one thing, but a bad movie that tries to get us hyped for future installments is simply insulting. “Hellboy” has not one, not two, but three endings that suggest more is on the way, whether we like it or not. Between the Abe Sapien reveal, Lobster Johnson’s ghost, and Baba Yaga’s conversation with Koschei, the studio seems pretty confident that a sequel is inevitable. Even with a reportedly modest production budget of $50 million, though, the film’s opening weekend box office performance fell well below expectations. As for the critical response, let’s just say nobody was clamoring for a follow-up. Whatever happens next, this sequel bait looks about as appetizing as the ones from “The Last Airbender” and “Green Lantern.”

#9: The Lackluster Soundtrack

Imagine hitching a ride with someone who insists on listening to a playlist comprised of repetitive rock music. At first, it’s just a little distracting, but after two hours you’re seriously tempted to jump out of the moving vehicle. That basically sums up this movie’s soundtrack. Don’t get us wrong, Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart,” and Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare” are all badass songs. When every action sequence is set to a rock song we’ve heard a million times before, however, it’s about as pleasant as fingernails on the chalkboard. Benjamin Wallfisch is a talented composer, but his musical score here sounds like the grungy version of Hans Zimmer’s most generic works.

#8: A Waste of a Promising Cast

Many fans were skeptical of this reboot from the moment it was announced, but people started to come around when David Harbour of “Stranger Things” was cast as Hellboy. The additions of cult actors like Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich, as well as promising up-and-comers like Sasha Lane, only gave us more reason to be optimistic. Alas, all of them are squandered in a screenplay plagued by one-dimensional characters. The material is deprived of anything resembling humor or humanity, giving the cast little to sink their teeth into. Everyone comes off as if they don’t even understand half of the dialogue they’re spouting. Worst of all, Oscar-nominees like Thomas Haden Church and Sophie Okonedo are designated to bit parts that go absolutely nowhere.

#7: Packing in Too Many Characters

If “Infinity War” and “Into the Spider-Verse” proved anything, it’s that balancing a large cast of characters isn’t impossible. Unfortunately, “Hellboy” is in the tradition of “X-Men: The Last Stand” or “Spider-Man 3,” shoehorning in more players than it knows what to do with. Characters like Baba Yaga and witch elder Ganeida are introduced with little context and then disappear before we learn anything about them. We’d say that Lobster Johnson’s glorified cameo is pure fan service, but his appearance is so rushed that fans are inclined to be disappointed. Although the main characters are all given complex backstories, we never come to identify with any of them. There’s a big difference between telling us someone’s origins and actually fleshing out a character.

#6: A Waste of an R Rating

Following in the footsteps of “Deadpool” and “Logan,” “Hellboy” promoted itself as a “grown-up” superhero movie with a hard R rating. Rather than coming up with clever uses for four-letter words like “Deadpool,” though, this film randomly inserts f-bombs into every other sentence. “Hellboy” drapes itself in just as much blood and gore as “Logan” did, but the carnage means nothing when there’s no investment in the characters or story. The only demographic likely to get a kick out of all the gratuitous swearing and violence is the twelve-year-old boy crowd, who aren’t even old enough to purchase a ticket. This goes to show that just because a movie receives an R rating doesn’t mean that it’s “adult.”

#5: The Inconsistent Tone

We get the impression that this movie was trying to replicate the twisted imagination of Sam Raimi, who bought us gleefully gruesome flicks like “Drag Me to Hell” and the “Evil Dead” trilogy. The film’s fusion of horror and medieval fantasy particularly calls “Army of Darkness” to mind. Where those cult classics all had a playful sense of humor, though, this film feels like it was made by a teenager who wants to prove how edgy he can be. “Hellboy” takes itself too seriously to function as a self-aware B-movie or a loving tribute to pulp magazines. The film has more in common with the joyless “I, Frankenstein” or “Gods of Egypt,” both of which just so happen to be under the Lionsgate umbrella.

#4: The Horrible Special Effects

To be fair, the film’s practical effects aren’t entirely without merit and the creature design is beyond inventive, which is to be expected with an Oscar-winning makeup artist like Joel Harlow onboard. Whenever “Hellboy” resorts to CGI, though, it looks like something that was simulated in the early 90s. With an overreliance on green screen and CGI puppets, the film constantly gives the audience flashbacks of 1997’s “Spawn.” Of course, where that movie at least had the excuse of being a product of its time, “Hellboy” came out in 2019 for Satan’s sake. Maybe these effects would’ve been acceptable if “Hellboy” had taken the B-movie route and fully embraced its corniness. Yet, the filmmakers honestly expect us to be impressed by Nintendo 64 quality graphics.

#3: The Incomprehensible Plot

How can a movie that covers World War II, the Arthurian legend, and Russian folklore be boring? Actually, maybe we just answered our own question. When a movie throws this many ingredients into one pot, it’s bound to leave an inconsistent taste in your mouth. It’s difficult to make heads or tails of this film’s incomprehensible plot as our heroes jump from one set piece to another. When the characters aren’t spewing exposition, they’re partaking in action sequences that are edited so choppily that you can’t tell what’s going on. “Hellboy” is paced less like a movie and more like a video game, where the boss fights take precedence over the story. Unfortunately, this film doesn’t come with a controller.

#2: The Production Problems Are Evident

Shortly after the film’s release, news broke that tensions reached a boiling point on the “Hellboy” set. According to insiders, a power struggle arose between director Neil Marshall and the producers, specifically Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin. The producers allegedly gave Marshall’s longtime cinematographer Sam McCurdy the boot, asserting that they were in charge. The director and producers also reportedly clashed over how a tree should look while star Harbour stormed off set in frustration more than once. As was the case with “Fant4stick” and “Suicide Squad,” the production problems really shine through in the final product. A film this jumbled clearly didn’t come from one artist with a vision, but rather a group of people who couldn’t agree on anything. Talk about production hell.

#1: We’ll Never See Guillermo del Toro’s 3rd “Hellboy” Movie Because of It

This movie is guilty of numerous sins, but the greatest travesty is that the “Hellboy” franchise was doing pretty well until now. Granted, Guillermo del Toro’s two “Hellboy” films weren’t huge moneymakers, but they were critically acclaimed, beloved by fans, and all-around visual marvels. Del Toro and actor Rob Perlman spent years trying to get a third movie off the ground. In 2017, however, del Toro confirmed that his trilogy would never be completed. So instead, we got a soulless reboot deprived of the emotional gravitas, over-the-top action, or colorful production values that made del Toro’s films stand out. Now that del Toro is an Oscar-winner, we can only hope “Hellboy” will land back in his lap, but it appears there’s no escaping development hell.

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