Early reviews for the new Hellboy movie are coming in, and the outlook isn’t so good. Compiling together the critical consensus for the movie, Rotten Tomatoes currently has Hellboy certified rotten with an embarrassing 11% rating. For anyone unfamiliar with how Rotten Tomatoes works, this means that only 11% of approved critics to see the movie so far gave it a positive review. With some critics describing Hellboy as “dull” and even “laughably absurd,” it’s starting to appear that the new Big Red is not going to be the blockbuster superhero producers had been hoping for. While there are certainly many times when filmgoers disagree with critics, perhaps it’s best not to walk into this one with high expectations.
As a complete reboot for the franchise, the new Hellboy movie has no relation to the previous installments. Portraying the titular superhero this time around is David Harbour (Stranger Things), taking over the role from Ron Perlman. Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Thomas Haden Church, Daniel Dae Kim, and Sasha Lane also star. With the creative input of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, the movie is written by Andrew Cosby and directed by Neil Marshall. It tells the story of Hellboy and his allies taking on a powerful sorceress known as the Blood Queen (Jovovich) when she attempts to conquer the planet.
Of course, this will be the third installment in the Hellboy live-action movie series. Co-writer and director Guillermo del Toro released the first movie in 2004, with Ron Perlman in the titular role. The movie was successful and received generally favorable reviews, certified fresh at Rotten Tomatoes with an 81% rating. This led to the 2008 sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which was also directed by del Toro. The sequel was even more successful than the first movie at the box office and with critics. Boasting a fresh 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, most critics and fans seemed to walk away from the movie feeling satisfied.
Feeling there was more story with Hellboy left to tell, del Toro and Perlman both publicly expressed their desires to make a third movie. After spending years struggling to get his vision of the sequel made, del Toro finally seemed to give up on the idea in 2017 when he tweeted emphatically that Hellboy 3 “will not happen.” Unwilling to be involved if he couldn’t direct the project himself, del Toro cut ties with the Hellboy franchise when Neil Marshall was hired to direct the new movie. With a new director in place, Perlman withdrew from the project as well, only willing to reprise the role if del Toro was involved. With both of these losses considered, the choice was then made to reboot the series entirely, ignoring the previous sequels and starting fresh with a new Hellboy.
Once Hellboy has its wide release on April 12, the percentage number on Rotten Tomatoes will undoubtedly change. Still, these first impressions aren’t exactly painting a picture for a bright critical reception. Hopefully, for the sake of the filmmakers and the studio, the negative reviews don’t affect this weekend’s turnout to a devastating degree. You can read what the early reviews from critics are saying over at Rotten Tomtaoes.