Hellboy 2: The Golden Army begs any number of referential mash-ups to be used as description of its outlandish tonal and stylistic qualities. It's a little like a romantic and sophisticated live-action Ninja Turtles movie imbued with a cracked version of H.P. Lovecraft's monster storytelling. It's a feature-length version of STAR WARS's Mos Eisley Cantina mixed with a scrappy, proficient passion for creature design reminiscent of Ray Harryhausen. It's also kind of director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy (2004) wrapped in a blanket of his Pan's Labyrinth. This sequel is all these things, but none of them can accurately capture the singularity of a movie which, in some ways, stands alone in its ability to capture the crass and literary luridness of reading a comic book. It's filled with gross creatures bursting with humanity, dark poetry, and slapstick comedy; in one scene, an argument between Hellboy and Johann Krauss, a formless gas contained in a mobilized suit, escalates to the point of Tom-and-Jerry-like violence.
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