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Filmwhys #23 Fargo and Hellboy

Welcome to yet another episode of Filmwhys aka the Why Haven’t You Seen This Film Podcast. This time around Justin Gott from Man, I Love Films and The Rambling Ramblers Podcast helps expand my Coen Brothers filmography by asking me why I haven’t seen Fargo, one of their best if not their best film to date. Featuring Minnesota accents, a wood chipper, and Marge Gunderson in a backdrop of stark white snow. And in return, I ask him why he hasn’t seen Hellboy, one of the movies that helped bring Guillermo del Toro to the big time with his imaginative take on the blue collar demon in a governmental supernatural research agency.
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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.

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Hellboy: Sword of Storms

Hellboy: Sword of Storms 2006

In between the two Hellboy movies, there were a couple animated movies that were released on DVD. Apparently they also aired on Cartoon Network, but I never knew that until just now. It’s a little tough if you really want to nail down the timeline between all four of the movies, but since this one doesn’t include any references to Professor Broom, I imagine that it takes place after the first movie, while the next animated movie: Blood & Iron takes place before the first movie. It doesn’t really matter much though, because they are all separate stories that really have no connection to anything else. They are both very stand-alone BPRD missions, but in the context of what Hellboy and the rest of the BPRD do, it makes perfect sense. One of the things I greatly enjoyed about this movie is its exploration of Japanese mythology. In fact, taken as a whole, each Hellboy movie seems to explore a different facet of the world’s mythology, with Cthulhu in the first movie, Irish and other European folklore in the second movie, Japanese mythology in this movie, and vampire mythology in the second animated movie. And yet they all are tied together with a slightly tongue in cheek yet at the same time completely serious tone.

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army 2008

It had been a long while since I had seen this movie. I actually bought it on Blu-Ray before I even started this site and had not gotten around to watching it again until now, and that’s a real shame because this is such a gorgeous and amazing movie. It has so many things that are very different from the first movie, but what it does keep is the sense of fun and the fantastic visuals. What the first film did for the Cthulhu mythology, this movie does with a completely different set of mythology. Not only that, but it gives many of the characters extra depth, there aren’t really any bad guys, there’s a lot more moral ambiguity and really explores the grey areas of what Hellboy and the BPRD does. And mixed in through all of that are some amazing action setpieces.

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Hellboy

Hellboy 2004

Before watching this movie, I went through and did a full count of how many movies I’ve actually reviewed so far this year. My original goal was 100 superhero movies, and by my current count I’m up to 95. Plus, I’ve reviewed 7 “Almost Super” movies. So that means I’ve got five more movies to watch and review over the next few weeks to hit my goal. I’d like to pick something good for #100, I’ll likely put a poll up tomorrow. But for #96-99 I’ll be watching all the movies in the Hellboy franchise, both live action and both animated. I’ve enjoyed these movies ever since I first watched them, Ron Perlman was and still is the perfect casting choice for the big red guy. There’s so much in this movie to enjoy, from the practical effects to the amazing designs on everything, to Hellboy’s attitude, this movie is one of my favorites and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to watch it. In fact, the poster I’m using to headline this post was actually one of my first movie posters, and hung on my wall for years. Such a great looking poster.

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