tek's rating: ½

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (PG-13)
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This is, obviously, the sequel to Hellboy. It begins with a brief scene in 1955, eleven years after Professor Bruttenholm had adopted Hellboy as a baby. The professor reads young Hellboy a story about a Golden Army of indestructible warriors that had been created by a goblin blacksmith, to be commanded by an elf king against humanity. Humans used to live in peace with all the fantasy-type creatures like elves, goblins, trolls, fairies, etc. But then humans decided they wanted to take over the world, and started wiping out the other races... hence the need for the Golden Army. After humanity was nearly wiped out, the elf king called a truce, and broke the crown that controlled the army into three pieces. His son, Prince Nuada, disagreed with this decision, and went into self-exile, vowing to return someday...

In the present (2008), Hellboy is having some relationship problems with Liz. He's also been causing a great deal of stress for Director Manning, often getting seen in public, when Hellboy and the whole BPRD are supposed to be a secret. So of course Manning has to work hard to eliminate evidence of Hellboy's existence. And then, while Hellboy, Liz, and Abe were on their latest mission... Hellboy decided to let himself be seen by the public in a big way, so that it would be impossible for Manning to cover it up. Hellboy has fun watching TV coverage of this, later... but eventually, it turns out to have been a bad decision. Because people suck. (Seriously, is there a comic book character whom the public hasn't turned against after he or she gets done protecting them?)

Anyway, the team figures out the incidence they were investigating was the first step in Prince Nuada returning, with plans to take control of the Golden Army and destroy humanity. And during a subsequent investigation, Abe meets Nuada's twin sister, Princess Nuala. She goes back with him to BPRD headquarters, so they can protect her from her brother (she has the final piece of the crown, and doesn't want him to get it). She and Abe pretty quickly develop feelings for each other (they both have tactile telepathic powers, so they get to know each other pretty quickly). Meanwhile, Washington sends a BPRD agent named Johann Krauss to take control of the team, and try to keep Hellboy in line, for a change. Krauss... I guess in the past he'd had some kind of "accident" so that now he's just ectoplasm, though actually it looks more like smoke or steam than ectoplasm, to me. Anyway, whatever he's made of, it's contained in a kind of diving suit that I guess Bruttenholm had designed for him. (It has a very sort of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"-slash-steampunk look to it.) Hellboy didn't like him, but everyone else seemed to.

So, basically, Hellboy, Abe, Liz, and Strauss have to try to stop Prince Nuada (with some help from Nuala). I don't want to say more about the plot than that, but as always, there's plenty of humor as well as personal drama, in addition to lots of badass fight scenes and cool costumes and special effects. I definitely think it was better than the first movie... and I'm really hoping there's gonna be a third.

comic book movies