Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

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Plot

  • A fragile truce between the humans and elves is at risk when the elven prince decides to call upon an invincible army to punish the humans for their reckless greed and careless behaviour.

Pros

  • This film felt better explained and fleshed out than the first one.

  • The practical effects and costuming were stunning.

  • The elven prince was a far better antagonist than the first film's Rasputin.

  • The denouement had real consequences.

Cons

  • A main FBI agent character from the first film is done away with needlessly.

  • The Golden Army never really felt like the threat that it was hyped up to be.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the first Hellboy film enough to warrant viewing the second. I don't know of a single conversation I've had about these films where I wasn't told "the second one is better than the first" and after finally watching it, I have to agree with that sentiment. It was fun and after seeing a small and rushed first film, this one felt like it had infinitely more room to breathe. While all the characters were able to be fleshed out more, the imminent threat of a Golden Army felt shallow at best. With the film having a relatively light tone, it never felt like there was any actual stress or tension about an invincible army being used to destroy humanity. Ah well, no movie is perfect.

Hellboy (2004)

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Plot

  • After a portal is opened to another dimension, a creature ends up on earth only to be raised by humans and is trained to fight otherworldly threats.

Pros

  • The special effects are great, considering the movie is now fifteen years old.

  • The creatures and costumes are really great looking as well.

Cons

  • The plot was pretty thin.

  • Nothing was fleshed out properly.

  • Characters suffered as a result of the poor pacing etc.

Final Thoughts

I've been told about the Hellboy film for a long time and finally decided to give it a go. This was an okay first film in the series but wasn't amazing by any stretch to me. I was definitely excited about the practical special effects and costuming that I saw and did feel like the delivered world with otherworldly creatures and magic was feasible. I wish the film would have fleshed things out more as it felt rushed and didn't quite have the payoff it deserved. I guess I can see the draw that's resulted in the huge fanbase because it is a fun sci-fi action flick, enjoyable enough to finish and follow up with the sequel. One final note is that I wish there was more screen time given to the villain, Rasputin. He could have been great but along with everything else in the film, he was left a shallow, generic, and forgettable character. Shame, really.

The Hummingbird Project (2019)

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Plot

  • Some people try to create a faster data delivery system for the stock market, making them millionaires if it succeeds.

Pros

  • The film wasn't bogged down by technical or stock market jargon.

  • The stakes felt real for most of the characters.

  • The antagonist wasn't an insanely over the top rich maniac.

  • Mostly, nothing felt excessive or out of place.

Cons

  • One of the characters felt like a cartoony joke that didn't fit with the film at all.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this movie. It felt like something that could have happened in real life. It was based on a true story so I guess they succeeded in their efforts. My biggest beef was the one main character (portrayed by Aleksander Skarsgård) that was a very strange choice. Balding, overweight, and manic; the character didn't fit with anything else in the film. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if the other folks in the theatre weren't laughing every time he was onscreen. Aside from that, the real world stakes were delivered well and the movie didn't fall prey to any major Hollywood tropes like happy endings or super villain bad guys. Not a bad film.

Cold Pursuit (2019)

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Plot

  • A man seeks revenge on those that killed his son.

Pros

  • The plot was such a small part of why this film was unique and enjoyable.

  • The story moved from generic revenge to absurdist very quickly.

  • The comedy and absurdity was refreshing.

  • The music was quirky and silly, adding to the overall enjoyment.

Cons

  • None of the absurdity is explained but is that a bad thing?

Final Thoughts

I went in expecting a generic revenge action film starring generic revenge action film actor Liam Neeson. Instead, I was treated to a film that was so much more. The continued death count was a great way to tie seemingly unrelated plot lines together. I think most of the main players were given at least some backstory, which was a welcome change–even the most generic of characters like the antagonist's henchmen were given at least some motivation. The characters maintaining normalcy as abnormal events made way for absurdity was a fun choice and risky one. Having all the different backstories intertwine was a great payoff. Finally, being able to leave the theatre not quite sure if I'd seen an intentional comedy but still having enjoyed myself was a rare treat. What an absolutely weird film but one I'm glad I watched.

Captain Marvel (2019)

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Plot

  • On the brink of galactic war, the Kree wage an offensive against the murderous rampage of the Skrull. While the Skrull can shape-shift effortlessly, it would appear that the Kree and their war aren’t what they seem either.

Pros

  • Fun throwback to the nineties without being overbearing.

  • Special effects were great, as with most superhero films.

  • Provided backstory to some characters sorely in need of it but...

Cons

  • ... That backstory made a joke out of those characters.

  • The main character felt poorly conceived.

  • A generic superhero film that doesn't stand out.

Final Thoughts

It’s fair to say that I love superhero movies. I’ve seen the majority of them and watch them over and over again. I give this movie credit for keeping my love of them going strong, however; it didn’t add anything new. I have to be honest in suggesting that it wasn’t great for me within the superhero genre or outside of it. There’s an unreasonable amount of both negativity and positivity about this movie on the internet and I don’t get it. The wheel wasn’t reinvented and there have been amazing and complex strong female leads throughout time. I guess it's good that people are passionate but I feel this film is a weird choice to ignite that passion. Anyways, I wish the “don’t show emotion” and “I’m a human with emotions” narratives would have been better sussed out because the lead character felt noncommittal to either side and I felt it detracted. I really disliked how Nick Fury was turned into a punchline as well. Otherwise, it was a decent superhero film and worth a big screen viewing.