Great day in the morning! More “Hellboy”? Do my eyes deceive me? After checking out “Sword of Storms” for the third time last month, I decided to re-watch Del Toro’s “Hellboy” adaptation and I just dig the hell out of it. It’s fun, funny, the effects are amazing, and Perlman is just fantastic.
I admit it, I f*****g love comic book movies. Many of them. I just dig the geeky good versus evil epic storyline that brews in the mythos, and I eat the s**t up with a spoon. Remember the nonsense spewing fan boy in “Freakazoid”? That’s me, except about two hundred pounds thinner, and so damn pretty.
“Blood & Iron” is a sequel to the tasty animated “Sword of Storms,” and it’s a further faithful adaptation of the lore, with Del Toro promising great things to come behind every bit of animation before our eyes. Unlike Marvel’s sub-par line of Straight-to-DVD animated adventures of their popular franchises, the animated prequels have been worthy of every bit of fan boy fawning, and “Blood & Iron” is just the same.
This time, the BPRD (including Sydney Leach) takes on a legion of vampires, with further emphases placed greatly on Professor Broom and his exploits as a young adventurer. After a run in with a few powerful demons, Hellboy and crew are being stalked by a mysterious vampiress who is intent on settling an old score with the good professor after a splash of holy water took away her beauty.
“Blood & Iron” is a much darker entry this time around, with a more solid arc, and also a much more low key approach to its story. Most of “Blood & Iron” is comprised of our team investigating a large mansion being bought by a man hoping to capitalize on its grim history involving a vain aristocrat who killed young women and bathed in their blood to make her younger. After selling her soul to the goddess Hecate she fed on their blood to retain her age as a vampire.
Bouncing from flashbacks to Broom’s battle with Erzsebet Ondrushko, and then to the present with the team exploring inexplicable haunting’s involving blood soaked young female ghosts who seem anxious to send Broom a message. As the night wears on, the sightings become more aggressive and the story just connects with dripping blood, eery hauntings and the like.
For the second installment, our directors explore that not all of the BPRD’s cases involve stomping demon nuts, and sometimes require they stake out dark houses for signs of a bigger problem. Which is not to say there isn’t some head bashing to be had. The fight with a werewolf in the house is probably the key moment of the film, while the animation is just top notch. True, it’s not faithful to Mignola’s style as we saw in “The Amazing Screw-On Head,” but it’s simply fantastic animation that gives due to the story with a healthy sense of the macabre for good measure.
The skull faced ghosts, and our Countess bathing in a tub of blood just scream Stoker. Character progression is simply on the menu, with Broom becoming a much more defined presence for audiences unfamiliar with the comics, while the entire cast is top notch. Perlman was born to play Hellboy, while Selma Blair is charismatic as Liz Sherman. John Hurt has a much prominent role this time around and he plays Broom with the same gusto as he did in the film, while Doug Jones is a wonderful replacement for David Hyde Pierce yet again.
“Hellboy: Blood & Iron” is low key without being dull, and action packed without being brainless. It’s a mature follow-up to an utterly entertaining franchise.
Now… when are we going to see an animated adaptation to “Xombie”?