The first trailer for Neil Marshall’s Hellboy reboot drops tomorrow, and despite excitement there is inevitably going to be one recurring criticism.
The Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth began adapting the Dark Horse Comics property back in 2004 with Ron Perlman, and a subsequent sequel titled Hellboy II: The Golden Army was released in 2008. Most audiences agreed that Mexican director Guillermo del Toro did a fantastic job in beginning a franchise we could invest in. The two films stand out to this day, offering a brilliant and tonal alternative to Marvel and DC’s cinematic output. Sadly, we’ll have to start all over again.
Neil Marshall (The Descent, Dog Soldiers) is a good choice to helm the project, and David Harbour (Stranger Things) looks like he’ll offer a satisfying reincarnation of the iconic antihero. So, there is definitely hope that the film will be a satisfying addition to the Hellboy cinematic canon, yet the lingering legacy of del Toro’s input may detract from our overall satisfaction. The Hellboy sequel actually managed to surpass the original, and gave audiences more monsters, humour and action sequences; in short, it was exactly what fans wanted. We would have been satisfied to end it all there, if not for the certified setup of a Hellboy trilogy. The film ended ambiguously, leaving lots of narrative arcs open and teasing a finale more explosive than anything we had seen thus far. The darkest days were yet to come.
Director Guillermo del Toro and actress Selma Blair attend the photocall to 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army' at the Adlon Hotel on August 19, 2008 in Berlin, Germany.
The cast and crew were certainly banking on crafting a concluding chapter, but it was announced in February 2017 that the project would never be, only one month after the director launched a twitter poll to try and get the project propelled into development. Both del Toro and Ron Perlman expressed their desire to embark on another Hellboy instalment, but sadly the fate of the narrative will forever remain a mystery. Admittedly, it’s exciting that we are finally getting another film, but even if it looks incredible most are going to complain that it’s not a continuation of the franchise they know and loved.
Hopefully Marshall’s take on the character and his strange universe will be just as enjoyable; expectations are already higher than anyone would have anticipated when the project was first announced. However, the del Toro fans will all come to terms with something when the trailer drops tomorrow: hopes for Hellboy III are officially crushed.
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