'Hellboy (2019)' is actually worse than I could have ever imagined. It's a real mess. Its plot is poorly constructed and its filmmaking is ill conceived. Worse still, it isn't even entertaining... like, at all. I mean, there's a brief, almost miraculous window where a few, but only a few, of the movie's many plot-threads somehow manage to come together in a relatively satisfying way. This climax is perhaps the only part of the picture that actually resembles a competent piece of story-telling, though. I do only mean "competent", too. It's not like the thing suddenly turns into Shakespeare. Even so, the opening stands in stark contrast to this, as it's perhaps - no joke - one of the worst things I've seen in the cinema in quite sometime. It sets the tone for a clunky, clumsy and curious experience that keeps getting worse and worse (until it somehow gets slightly better). Seriously, it's strange how bad it is. Pretty much everyone involved is capable of so much better and, as evidenced by the Del Toro efforts (which I won't compare this with), it's not like the source material is unsalvageable. To be fair, David Arbour is doing a really good job with what he has, standing out as the flick's best aspect. The other actors are doing just fine, too - even if some of them can't quite pull off the accents they're attempting. The other departments are almost all slacking, however. At least, that's how it seems in the final product which, of course, could all be down to a sloppy, maybe studio-meddled, final edit. The editing is one of the weaker aspects, feeling generally choppy in the moment and bizarrely unstructured as a whole. Several scenes happen which ought to be game-changing, but they're just forgotten about pretty much as quickly as they're introduced. Others take a long time to tell a short story, shall we say, and are often left unresolved. You'll wonder why both of these types were included in the first place. Don't even get me started on the flashbacks. Throughout it all, there's a ton of noticeable ADR - which signals some post-production fiddling. Even though it's often used to repeat unnecessary, ham-fisted exposition (yes, I said "repeat"), it doesn't fulfil its traditional purpose and change, or clarify, the narrative in any meaningful way. Still, I can't help but feel like what's on-screen isn't all that close to what was - originally, at least - on the page. There are enough signs, and seams, to point to this, if not quite prove it. Either way, the film doesn't feel like it's about anything - and I'm talking narrative here, never-mind theme. It meanders about, taking far too much time to linger on its hefty amounts of meaningless gore, until it sort of gets into gear towards the end. Here, not only does it have a relatively clear, beat-to-beat story, but it also gives its hero a bit of an arc. By this point, though, it's too little too late. 4/10
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