Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Hellboy

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Hellboy Movie Poster Image
Extreme gore, language in comic book movie reboot.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 120 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Brief message about Hellboy choosing for himself what kind of person he's going to be, rather than letting a prophecy dictate it for him, but this moment passes by quickly and doesn't really seem to be a focus.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hellboy isn't a traditionally admirable hero; he wreaks a lot of havoc and is full of silly bad behavior, but he usually manages to do the right thing. Even though he seems to have been destined to be a demon, he chooses to be good.

Violence

Extreme horror/fantasy gore. Gallons of blood; spattered, oozing. Characters killed; dead bodies. Torn-up body parts. Severed limbs and heads. Tongue torn out. Eyeballs plucked out/dangling. Stabbing, blades jabbing through skin. Lots of fighting, throwing, smashing, etc. Guns and shooting. Creepy creatures/monsters. Scary images include characters being twisted and broken and then crumbling to pieces. Characters are devoured by a plague. Children's bodies are briefly shown hanging from ceiling (a witch has been eating them). Brief reference to being "touched funny when you were a kid."

Sex

Topless woman briefly shown from side (nothing graphic seen). References to strip club and strippers. Reference to "perky breasts."

Language

Strong language includes multiple uses of "f--k" or "f---ing," plus "s--t," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "ass," "damn," "pr--k," "d--k," "crap," "goddamn," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation). Use of British slang word "todger" (meaning "penis").

Consumerism

Apple iPhone shown twice (recurring joke about how Hellboy accidentally smashes the touchscreen). References to Uber and Lego.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main character very drunk at bar. Orders an entire bottle to go. Drunk again at cemetery.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hellboy is a new take on Mike Mignola's popular superhero comic book series about a demonic antihero. Unlike the earlier, PG-13 adaptations that came out in 2004 and 2008, this version is rated R. And no wonder: It's extremely violent, with tons of computer-generated blood and gore. Characters are killed, and there are torn-up body parts, severed heads and limbs, and gouged tongues and eyeballs. There's also lots of fighting, with punching, throwing, and smashing, as well as slicing and stabbing with swords and arrows. Scenes include creepy monsters and other scary stuff, and children's bodies are briefly shown hanging from a ceiling. Language is also strong, with frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," and more. There's a quick, non-graphic glimpse of a topless woman, seen from the side, and a couple of spoken sexual references. Hellboy (David Harbour) sometimes gets very drunk, with no consequences. This movie is missing some of the magic that made the previous two work so well, but it's worth a look for mature fans.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by8firefae April 11, 2019

Don't Listen to people comparing it to del Toro's Hellboy

This movie was awesome. I wasn't sure about seeing it because most of the reviews were bad. Then I read those reviews and realized that they were mostly c... Continue reading
Adult Written byCpkjdwr April 19, 2019

Worst version of Hellboy ever made

Terrible movie. They should of made it as the original Hellboy's son. It being a different actor for Hellboy ruined the movie.
Teen, 13 years old Written byT0611047e April 11, 2019
This movie has a good plot despite all the strong graphic violence and language
Teen, 15 years old Written byAvizo April 13, 2019

Fun and enjoyable movie!

I have been a massive fan of Hellboy and the Mignolaverse since i was a little kid growing up watching Del Toro's movies and then later going on to read th... Continue reading

What's the story?

In HELLBOY, a flashback explains how King Arthur defeated the evil Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) and scattered her body parts to keep her from re-forming. In the present, Hellboy (David Harbour) goes to Mexico to find a missing colleague, only to discover that he's turned into a vampire. Back at Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) headquarters, Hellboy learns that a monster called Gruagach (Stephen Graham) has been stealing the queen's body parts so that he can re-assemble her, which will bring about the end of human life. At the same time, premonitions say that Hellboy himself will somehow contribute to this, which causes several of his would-be colleagues -- including a secret organization that holds one of the queen's limbs -- to try to kill him. When the queen becomes whole, Hellboy teams with Alice (Sasha Lane) and the B.P.R.D.'s Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) for a final showdown ... with the world itself at stake.

Is it any good?

This reboot, the third film based on Mike Mignola's terrific comics, is missing the magic of the first two; it's also extremely gory, but it has enough style and personality to make it worth a look. Directed by Neil Marshall, who made the excellent horror movie The Descent, this take on Hellboy feels a lot like a horror movie, too, with extremely liberal gore (most of it clearly computer-generated), several terrifying monsters, and plenty of senseless death. Of course, the original comics are also horror-based, but while their tone is somewhat wry and deadpan, Marshall's movie feels a little too busy.

Likewise, star Harbour (Stranger Things) has some big shoes to fill -- taking over from Ron Perlman, who played the big red demon in Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army -- and he doesn't quite make it. His performance is a bit too big, with lots of anguish and shock; the beloved character is usually portrayed, to wonderful deadpan comic effect, as mostly perturbed and grumpy. And while Jovovich makes a great Blood Queen, the character doesn't have much to do other than make threatening speeches. But McShane and Lane work well, and the characters themselves are already pretty likable. And Marshall manages a few fight scenes that are beautifully choreographed and thrilling. All in all, it's nice to have Hellboy back, even with diminished returns.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hellboy's extreme violence. Was it shocking or exciting? How does the movie's humor affect or mitigate the violence? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Is the movie scary? What makes it feel sometimes like a horror movie?

  • How does the movie compare to the other two Hellboy movies? To the comic books or animated cartoons?

  • Hellboy realizes that he can choose his own fate, rather than letting a prophecy tell him what to do. How can that lesson apply to real life?

  • How is Hellboy's drinking depicted? Does he make it look cool? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love superheroes

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate