Hellboy is depicted as vulnerable in this film, not so much physically but certainly emotionally and spiritually, open to suggestion and forced to examine his values and beliefs. Aside from the glitz and glamour, Hellboy II is also a film about love, trust, friendship, and loyalty. The film focuses on the relationships between two sets of characters, Hellboy and Liz and Abe and Nuala. Both relationships are plagued with difficulties, Liz’s frustration with Hellboy’s ways and Nuala’s connection with her twin brother, and by film’s end, both relationships will be put to the test as the characters must choose between their loved ones and the fate of the world.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army is also a beautifully crafted film; its every detail, largest to smallest, never fails to impress. The film’s sets, costumes, props, and creatures are as much a spectacle as the impressive action sequences scattered about the movie. In the Troll Marketplace sequence, for example, Guillermo del Toro has created a modern day Mos Eisley on Earth, replete with an incredible array of vivid and interesting characters, both visually and, for the ones that are provided personalities, psychologically. The sequence is arguably the strongest in the film. Not only does it see the origins of the Abe-Nuala relationship, but frame after frame is filled with one of the most painstakingly elaborate, lovingly crafted, and impeccably filmed locations in recent memory. Many viewers will appreciate the resolution and scanning ability of Blu-ray throughout the sequence as there is much to discover.
Hellboy II‘s climactic confrontation is, again, a visual wonderland, both the environment and the film’s namesake army on display with what can only be described as unparalleled grandeur. While these and virtually all of the film’s characters and sets represent a visual tour de force, del Toro’s fine direction never becomes lost in focusing on them. The direction remains steadfast, placing story first, with every set, effect, or creature playing second fiddle to the drama and underlying themes of the film.