Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (del Toro, 2008)

Guillermo del Toro’s spectacular monsters, whether it be in Hellboy, Pans Labyrinth, or the just released Hellboy 2:The Golden Army, often overwhelm the narrative universe they populate. The director’s almost obsessive desire to uproot these beasts into his own special spotlight becomes simple spectacle instead of another fascinating layer to his story. Hellboy 2, while once again anchored by Ron Perelman’s entertaining and forlorn performance, doesn’t have much on it’s mind beyond watching these creepy crawlers and epic titans of the underworld, admiring their tenacity, scale, and sometimes humanity. While undoubtedly a passionate visual filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro has always seemed vastly overrated to me, a visual dynamo who wows with surface area, the perfect merger of fanboy passion and high art aspirations. But besides The Devil’s Backbone, his films lack the character depth of his Mexican New Wave peers, especially Alfonso Cuaron.  Many people focus on the original magic in del Toro’s films and are seduced into ignoring his glaring use of cliche. For me, one can’t supersede the other, no matter how many monsters flood the screen.

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