Everyone's favorite big red monster good guy is back! Hellboy II: The Golden Army brings Hellboy and the rest of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense back to battle the supernatural villains that threaten humanity. While the storylines can be a bit run of the mill here, the visuals are creative and superb.

Inside the B.P.R.D. there are plenty of tensions. Hellboy (Ron Perlman) has lots of tension, both in his new romantic relationship with the pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) and his desire to go public -- which irritates his boss Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor). The aquatic Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) tries to keep the peace, and new member Johaan Krauss (voiced by Seth MacFarlane, of Family Guy fame) is a by-the-book German whose ectopolasmic body animates a mechanical suit.

And there are villains. In a pre-credits fairy tale, we learn that centuries ago the elves created an invincible Golden Army, but after seeing its devastation on the humans the Elven king decided never to use it again. Now the renegade Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) has decided to take control of the army and unite the supernatural beings of the world against the humans. Princess Nuala (Anna Walton) flees with the piece of the crown Nuada needs to awaken the army, which leads her to the B.P.R.D. (and a romantic relationship with Abe). But she is linked psychically (and, in a way, physically) with her brother, so it's not long before he comes after her.

The innumerable subplots can get a little wearying, and some parts are downright predictable (though I couldn't have predicated a drunk Hellboy and Abe singing along to Barry Manilow). The acting is fine, there are many very good action sequences -- and the effects are astounding! This movie is populated with a spectacular diversity of creatures, from small carnivorous Tooth Fairies to a giant forest elemental that would give the creature from Cloverfield a run for its money. The Golden Army itself is a hellish amalgam of golden metal and glowing red fire, while the various critters that pop up are a wonder to behold. The acting is consistently good (though I think anyone who could do a German accent could have done Krauss as well), but for me the action and especially the visuals make Hellboy II: The Golden Army a really fun summer movie!

Overall Grade: B+

Reviewed by James Lynch

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