Guillermo Del Toro is a fucking genius. This is soooo the movie I wanted Pan's Labyrinth to be. I'm quite sure that if Pan's expanded on its fantasy universe with all its creatures and dwellings, we would get what was presented in Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.
Although I liked the first movie (liked, not loved), I had problems with it. The pacing seemed to slow the movie down especially in the large middle section. As well, the character I found the most fascinating, Abe Sapien, was hardly in the movie. It was fun, but hardly the rollercoaster action ride that this was.
It seems that Del Toro has fined his craft with Pan's Labyrinth, and fixed the issues I had in HB1 with this movie. This movie was filled with non-stop action; the pace never slowed down. That said, there were mmoents where you were allowed to catch your breath before getting on the next rollercoaster.
The CG work was fantastic, and all the battles were superb (Earth God and Final Boss in particular). All the new characters, both main and side characters, were rich in design and pure candy to the eyes. The Tooth Fairies for example, were so tiny, yet so evil, YET so cute all at the same time. The attention he gives to the detailing is purely geekgasmic.
My favourite character in this movie was Johann Krauss, who I can only describe as a gas-thing trapped in a glass-domed suit. I didn't know until the movie finished, but Seth McFarlane of Family Guy fame, did the outstanding voiceover work. It was just a joy to see this guy in action, even when doing mundane things. I marked out huge when Krauss took control in the final boss battle. I can't give details away, but he owned shit.
Abe Sapien's role in the movie has been drastically expanded much to the joy of HB fans. In fact, I found his story with Princess Nuala much more captivating than that of Hellboy and Liz Sherman. It is tragic, but it is gripping.
Jeffrey Tambor is awesome yet again as Hellboy's boss. He gives great comedic relief in the movie. Sometimes it seems like he's playing George Bluth Sr. (of Arrested Development) but just placed in the Hellboy universe. He is a great man.
With all these characters newly introduced or expanded, you'd think that it would take attention away from our titular character. Fear not, it does not. This is still very much a story of Hellboy and his adventures around the world, only now, our vision of how he lives and the lives of those that surround him are further developed. His relationship (and the complications therein) with the "human" girl, Liz Sherman, is explored more here.
What can I say... If you are a comicbook geek or just an action movie buff, then go see this movie. If you didn't enjoy the first one all that much, that's okay... this movie is epic compared to the small scope we saw in the first one. Until next time. Later geeks.