WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Hellboy, now playing in theaters.
While critics may not be praising Neil Marshall's Hellboy, the reboot certainly delivers on the promise of pure, unadulterated R-rated action. There's a lot of cursing, blood and gore as David Harbour's Hellboy and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense try to stop Nimue, the Blood Queen (Milly Jovovich), from raising literal hell on Earth, centuries after she was cut up banished by King Arthur.
Realizing Hellboy is the key ushering in the apocalypse, the resurrected witch lures the titular hero to King Arthur's London tomb, tempting him in the finale to seize Excalibur for this own. That would allow them to open the gates of Hell, so monsters and demons can claim the planet for themselves. As Hellboy contemplates his own destiny, it's his lineage that guides his important decision.
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A LOYAL SON, A HEROIC KING
As Hellboy attempts to discover where Nimue's end-of-the-world ritual will take place, he ends up in a mystical cave with Merlin. The legendary wizard explains Hellboy's importance, revealing he's the spawn of a mysterious demon and the last female descendant of King Arthur. With that royal blood, Hellboy is the only one alive who can wield Excalibur, the only weapon that can harm Nimue.
When Nimue tries to wed Hellboy in London, and offers Excalibur as a token of her love, he seemingly embraces his role as a dragon-riding destroyer, only for Alice (Sasha Lane) to summon to ghost of his adoptive father, Professor Broom (Ian McShane). Through Broom's earnest words, Hellboy is reminded about his humanity, and he finally embraces he's not only a monster but also a man, and decapitates the witch.
With the Blood Queen's army dragged back to the pits of Hell, Hellboy throws her head in for good measure. Alice reveals he's now the "king of England," but as their ally Ben (Daniel Das Kim) has come to realize, the half-breed is also the person who's fit to rule the planet itself. With Red's royal lineage revealed, however, there's a distinct possibility Arthur's enemies who exist in present times, could return to take down Hellboy.
THE B.P.R.D.'S EVOLUTION
Alice uses her connection to the spiritual realm to help Hellboy overcome Nimue's forces. Ben, hiding his own skeletons, eventually cuts loose as a were-jaguar. Together, they remind each other of the importance of family. Sadly, after Nimue slaughters most of the B.P.R.D.'s elite in London and kill Broom, the organization is now in dire need of rebuilding.
We get a hint of how this will develop in the final sequence, as we see the trio as a more mature unit attacking the Oannes Society, an ancient aquatic cult that worships monsters from the depths of the ocean. After they slice and dice all of the soldiers, Hellboy's new unit discovers a water tank labeled "Icthyo Sapien." Before they can question their find, a blue, webbed hand reaches out against the glass, revealing they've found Abe Sapien.
As we know, Abe was discovered by the B.P.R.D. years ago in the comics, and Hellboy stopped them from experimenting on him. They eventually forged a brotherly bond, as we saw in Guillermo del Toro's two films, where Abe was played by Doug Jones. While we don't see Abe's face here, it's obvious the franchise wants a sequel with Hellboy's unit expanding to include more heroes. Seeing as the Nazi-hunting Lobster Johnson (Thomas Haden Church) is alive and kicking as well, once Abe turns into the sharpshooter from the books, Hellboy might even become the kind of leader his father always wanted him to be, and take the B.P.R.D. to the next level.
In theaters nationwide, director Neil Marshall’s Hellboy stars David Harbour as Hellboy, Ian McShane as Trevor Bruttenholm, Milla Jovovich as Nimue, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan, Penelope Mitchell as Ganeida and Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio.