Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Hellboy II: The Golden Army


I think I may have to just give up on comic book movies. Even if they’re well-reviewed. Even if it means that I might miss the occasional one that has some wit, some humor, like Iron Man, that is onto itself and understands how frickin’ goofy the whole thing is. I mean, what the hell has happened to our culture, that we spend multiple billions of dollars making these stories based on stuff that is “read” by pimply 12-year-olds, and is “written” on that level, and then spend billions more to watch the putrid things? Why would I, as an adult, want to see such shit? I can no longer think of a reason.
This one got good reviews, as a lot of them have, lately, from some magazines and newspapers who should have known better. Not the astronomical, super-stellar reviews that overblown, overlong piece of crap The Dark Knight got, but very respectable. It was directed by Guillermo del Toro (Gill the Bull?), who did Pan’s Labyrinth, so I was hopeful. And it is, no question, staggeringly imaginative. There are so many weird creatures that you gape in awe, and realize that each of these things was designed by somebody, animated on a computer by somebody, or in some cases created in the make-up department by somebody … and there are thousands of them, just in the mind-boggling environment of the troll city under the Brooklyn Bridge. Such amazing talent, such skill, such patience (CGI still takes a long time), so many man- and woman-hours devoted to this, ultimately, very dumb stuff. Squandered! Wasted!
You may ask, legitimately, how can I, a science fiction writer, who make my living writing about the improbable, hate this stuff so much? Well, first, I didn’t even like comic books when I was a kid. I read some, but in my heart I knew they were second-rate crap, not my cup of tea at all. Fantasies, sure, but I don’t think they are healthy ones, not even back in the ‘60s when there was a comics code to keep the mayhem down to a reasonable level. Now all bets are off, anything can be shown, and we get sado-masochistic swill like Sin City, that would make a shithouse rat barf … and was loved by most of the critics! We have now reached levels of violence that, in this era of “you have to top this in your next picture,” will soon reach the point where we won’t be satisfied with levels of violent images short of machine-gunning infants in their cribs. I’m not kidding, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that, and soon!