Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Hellboy II: The Golden Army Movie Poster Image
Imaginative, campy comic book fun; lots of scares.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 110 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 23 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Extensive discussion of acceptance and tolerance, as Hellboy and his outlandish paranormal-busting team endure scorn and derision due to their appearance and odd natures after they go public.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The public reaction to the relationship between Hellboy and his human girlfriend prompts a news anchor to ask rhetorically "Inter-species marriage -- A threat to traditional marriage?" A German-accented character's name, Kraus, is misspoken (somewhat derisively) as "Kraut." Hellboy learns adult responsibility.

Violence

Extensive fantasy violence throughout, including (but not limited to) super-powered fistfights, decapitations, stabbings, slashings, gun battles against gigantic monsters, and property damage. A paranormal supporting character controls flames to incinerate inhuman enemies. Pedestrians are threatened by debris and tentacles during a giant monster's urban rampage. Hellboy saves an infant from peril. A supernatural creature is interrupted as it prepares to eat a cat. A brutish monster is pulled into a large set of grinding gears and ground to bits. A character spends several scenes with a blade lodged in their body; epic battles between inhuman creatures; several supporting human characters are graphically devoured by tiny, hungry gnawing fantastic creatures. A supporting character commits a mystical murder-suicide.

Sex

Unmarried characters live together; a character takes a pregnancy test. Some kissing.

Language

Fairly mild, including "crap," "ass," "poop," "a--hole," "screw" and, obviously, "hell."

Consumerism

Part of a popular comic book franchise. Some real-world brands are featured, like Tecate and Tecate Light beers and Baby Ruth candy bars. A brief snippet of Jimmy Kimmel Live is incorporated into the plot.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters speak of "needing a beer" as a prelude to talking about challenges and problems; mild comedic drunkenness involving non-human characters, resulting in a beer-fueled Barry Manilow sing-along; Hellboy smokes cigars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hellboy II: The Golden Army is an action-packed sequel to 2004's Hellboy. It includes a plethora of scary monsters and supernatural creatures and extensive fantastic violence, including shootings, superhuman fist-fights, and grisly deaths at the hands of nightmarish creatures. That said, the movie's overall tone is so light and fantastical that it never becomes too oppressive or grim for fantasy-loving teens and adults, and its sheer visual imagination is stunning to behold. The title character is a demon, albeit one with a soft spot for kittens. He likes his cigars and Baby Ruth candy bars; characters also drink, and other brands pop up here and there.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5, 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byJamesRobertson January 4, 2009
Parent Written byPlague February 26, 2010

Hellboy ll: The Golden Army

better than the first. Very entertaining and fun for comic book adaption movie fans.
Kid, 10 years old July 31, 2013

Just as good as the first, maybe even a little better.

Hellboy 2 The Golden Army is an imaginative, scary film with nonstop action and awesome special effects. Violence, disturbing images, and terror: 4/5 There are... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 8, 2009
Better than the first.

What's the story?

Following up on 2004's Hellboy, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY sees writer-director Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone) return to Mike Mignola's comic-book creation. This time around he pits supernatural monster-stopper Hellboy (Ron Perlman) against the machinations of evil elf-prince Nuada (Luke Goss), who's searching for the lost segments of a golden crown that, when united, will give him control of the titular Golden Army -- an unstoppable legion of mechanical warriors that he plans to use to destroy humanity in order to protect the world of enchantment. But even as he works the case, Hellboy has to come to terms with his team's existence becoming public knowledge -- and the resulting prejudices of the general populace. Oh, and his fire-starter girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair) really needs to talk to him about some important stuff. ...

Is it any good?

After the dizzying high art of the Oscar-winning Pan's Labyrinth, del Toro downshifts a little to deliver high entertainment with this sequel. Meshing the supernatural with the super-heroic, Mignola's comic-book creation is a wise-cracking, gruff-yet-good tough guy played with pitch-perfect swagger and comedy timing by Perlman. Hellboy's intrinsic goodness shines out through his bizarre appearance -- and Perlman's talent shines out through bizarre, brilliant makeup and special effects. The movie takes place in a world of gods and monsters, and some of its creations are startling, inventive, and as scary as they are fascinating.

Loaded with action (some of which is intense, if otherworldly), Hellboy II: The Golden Army also takes the time to give us full-drawn characters. Hellboy sincerely cares for Liz, is a good friend to the team's psychic -- a genteel man-fish named Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), and even comes to terms with his higher-ups at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, including the all-too-human Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor) and the disembodied spirit Johann Kraus (voiced by Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane). For every eye-popping effects sequence or line of hokey comic-book dialog, there's also a brief moment of human warmth or goofy comedy, and if the film's a little loose and slapdash, that hyper-inventive spirit surprisingly enhances its charm instead of undercutting it. Hellboy is hardly the best-known big-screen superhero, but Hellboy II: The Golden Army is the most brilliantly bizarre, visually vibrant, slyly self-aware and freakishly funny example of the genre you could hope for.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hellboy II: The Golden Army's underlying message of tolerance. What's more important, how someone looks, or how they act?

  • How does the movie move Hellboy toward adult responsibility (although he ages slowly and is supernatural, Hellboy is fairly immature and teen-like at the beginning of the film)? Does that strike any chords with teens? What does being "human" mean for Hellboy? Where does he have the power of choice?

Movie details

For kids who love Fantasy Action

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