Like this summer’s The Incredible Hulk, I’m going to hold my final opinion on Hellboy II until I see the director’s cut on DVD.
Of course, there's no guarantee of a director's cut. But the first film had one and it looks like this one is doing significantly better bank. More importantly, this film needs – demands – a director's cut even more than the first film.
I walked out of the first Hellboy with mixed feelings. I instantly fell in love with Ron Perlman’s performance and Guillermo Del Toro’s direction, but the story was a bit shaky, some of the jokes forced, and the villains underwhelming. The movie grew on me considerably after multiple viewings, especially when the director’s cut came out, since it smoothed out almost all the film’s rough edges. It’s one of the few films where the director’s cut was worth the double dip and was, without a doubt, the best version of the film. It’s never going to beat The Wrath of Kahn (once again, the director’s cut) for the most watched DVD in my house, but it’s on a short list of DVDs that get a lot of play in the stately Wickett manor.
I walked out of the second Hellboy with the same mixed feelings I had for the first film. The story is both better and worse. Del Toro seems keenly aware of the first movie’s problems, though sometimes he overcompensates in these areas, which causes its own problems. But Del Toro, Perlman, and company are more confident and experienced with the material – and, more importantly, they obviously loved every minute of playing around in Mike Mignola’s world.
It is the best comic book movie ever made? No. But I can’t think of one that is anywhere near as fun, nor made with so much love and good will.