Hellboy: Blood & Iron
Hellboy: Blood & Iron
This movie finishes out my Hellboy marathon and is my 99th superhero movie review of the year. I’m very happy to finish out my goal of watching and reviewing over 100 superhero movies this year. My 100th movie is a great one and a nice way to cap off my goal, though I will keep reviewing over the last couple weeks of the year. But back to Hellboy, Blood & Iron was the second animated movie and even though it came out after Sword of Storms, it takes place before the first Hellboy movie, focusing quite a bit on Professor Broom and shedding some light into his backstory. After many years of retirement from active duty, Broom takes on one more assignment that was initially introduced as a publicity stunt, though it ends up bringing back an old horror from the Professor’s early days in the BPRD. In other words, this is Hellboy’s take on vampire mythology. Taken as a whole, the Hellboy movie series really runs the gamut of different mythologies, giving them new life and putting the Hellboy spin on it. Instead of the typical vampire origin, this brings in the Greek Goddess of the witches, Hecate, and a figure from history just as infamous as Vlad the Impaler, Elizabeth Bathory. I was actually somewhat familiar with the story of the Blood Countess due to a City of Heroes player who created a custom mission arc with her history which I made a trailer for. Vampires, especially nowadays, are such a popular topic they have almost been done to death, and yet this movie was able to breathe some new life into the undead creatures, even though once again it briefly reminded me of Vampire Hunter D, the sequel this time. There was also a bit of Memento inspired chronological order shifting, with the flashbacks being intercut with the current day story in almost the same way.
Out of all of the movies, Professor Broom is the one character that really does have an interesting story behind him. He was at the very beginning of the BPRD and has seen it all, and yet he’s only in half of the movies, and this is the only one that really gives him any real oomph. He’s a devout Catholic and yet he’s deeply entrenched in the supernatural, something that’s called into question during a brief moment in this movie, and yet he ends up having a stronger faith than the priest himself. Another nice change of pace is that Professor Broom is not really a fighter, either in the past nor the present, and he uses his knowledge, quick thinking, and outsmarts his enemies rather than overpowering them.
I can’t believe I’ve gone this far into this review without mentioning that I’m a fan of vampires. Not the sparkly ones. I’m more a fan of werewolves, but vampires are pretty cool too. And it’s great to see the gender swap, it’s much more common for the head vampire to be a male while he uses his powers to subdue the women into his control. Instead, it’s a bit of a Snow White complex with the vampire being a woman, and she uses her power to bring other beautiful women under her control in order to retain her fairest of them all looks in a literal bloodbath. With sexy results. She’s also accompanied by her two cronies who provide a slight bit of comic relief while still being frightful in their own right.
But aside from Professor Broom’s story, there’s also a large part of course played by Hellboy who provides the brunt of the action in this movie while he fights both a werewolf and a goddess. I did find the fight with Hecate to be the weakest point in the movie, especially the anticlimactic ending to it, but aside from that, the fights were well done. Especially the opening fight with the Minotaur. Like the bat creature in the first animated movie, the Minotaur didn’t have any connection with the rest of the story, but it was a fun fight by itself, it also seemed to provide the inspiration for the mechanical fist on Wink the troll in the second live action movie.
The rest of the characters were kind of put off to the side in this movie, even though Abe and Liz were both there, they never really get to do much other than get knocked out or captured. They also introduced a new character voiced by Rob Paulsen who is a human metal detector. Again, I have to make a quick reference to my dislike of Agent Meyers in the first live action movie, because I thought that Sydney was a much better window for the audience into the workings of the BPRD than Meyers was. Especially since Sydney actually had some sort of special ability, however comical and mostly useless, and was more or less accepted into the group without question.
I do have to compare this movie to the other animated movie, Sword of Storms, and while I do appreciate all the Japanese mythology in Sword of Storms, Blood & Iron has a much more self-contained and cohesive storyline, not only that, but it focuses on an interesting character in Professor Broom and gives him a much needed backstory. If you only choose one of the Hellboy animated movies to watch, I would definitely pick Blood & Iron, unless you’re specifically looking for the Asian angle. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.