Hellboy is a 2019 American supernatural superhero film based on the Dark Horse Comics character of the same name. Directed by Neil Marshall, the film stars David Harbour in the title role, alongside Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, and Thomas Haden Church. It is a reboot of the Hellboy film series, and the third live-action film in the franchise. The film draws inspiration from the comic books Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt, The Storm and the Fury, and Hellboy in Mexico.
The project began as a sequel to Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), with Andrew Cosby and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola writing the script. Guillermo del Toro was not offered the full writer-director capacity he had performed in the first two films, and Ron Perlman, who portrayed Hellboy in the previous films, refused to return without del Toro’s involvement. The project was turned into an R-rated reboot after Marshall was hired as the director and Harbour cast as Hellboy. Principal photography began in September 2017 in the United Kingdom and Bulgaria and ended in December 2017.
Hellboy was released in the United States on April 12, 2019, by Lionsgate in standard 2D and IMAX. The film was met with negative reviews from critics, with many comparing it unfavorably to Del Toro’s films and criticizing the story, inconsistent tone and the amount of gore, though Harbour and Jovovich’s performances and the makeup received some praise.
In the Dark Ages, the Blood Queen Nimue unleashes a plague on England until King Arthur stops her with the aid of Ganeida, a member of her coven. Arthur uses Excalibur to dismember Nimue, and hides her remains across England.
In present day Tijuana, paranormal investigator Hellboy reluctantly kills missing Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) agent Esteban Ruiz, whose mission got him turned into a vampire. After hearing Ruiz’s dying words that the end is coming, Hellboy is brought back to the B.P.R.D. in Colorado. He is assigned by B.P.R.D. leader Trevor Bruttenholm, his adopted human father, to assist in the Osiris Club’s hunt for three giants. Hellboy is informed by the club’s seer Lady Hatton that Bruttenholm was meant to kill him when he first came into the world as the result of the Nazis’ Project Ragnarok. Meanwhile, the hog-like fairy Gruagach retrieves several of Nimue’s remains.
During the hunt, Hellboy is betrayed and nearly killed by the hunters before they are ambushed by the giants. Barely conscious, Hellboy manages to defeat the giants before being rescued by a young woman. Hellboy awakens in the woman’s flat and recognizes her as Alice Monaghan, a medium he once retrieved from fairies as a baby. Sending a SWAT team to retrieve Hellboy, Bruttenholm relays that someone has taken Nimue’s remains and is seeking the last piece at the Osiris Club. They are introduced to M11 agent Ben Daimio, and Hellboy and Alice join the team headed to the club.
Finding everyone at the club slaughtered, Alice channels Hatton’s spirit, who reveals that Nimue seeks Hellboy to cause the apocalypse. Nimue’s arm is taken by Gruagach, and Nimue distracts Hellboy by appealing to his frustrations, allowing Gruagach to escape. Hellboy reveals that Gruagach is a changeling who took baby Alice’s place before Hellboy branded him with iron. Gruagach, with the guidance of witch Baba Yaga, revives Nimue to exact revenge on Hellboy for ruining his chance of being human.
Daimio takes them to M11 headquarters before secretly acquiring a special bullet to kill Hellboy. After an argument with Bruttenholm about his adoption, Hellboy leaves before being magically transported to Baba Yaga’s house. Having shot out Baba Yaga’s right eye, Hellboy is talked into giving up one of his eyes for the location where Nimue plans to restore herself. Hellboy reneges on the agreement, and Baba Yaga curses him. On the way to Nimue’s location in Pendleton, Daimio reveals to Alice that he was the sole survivor of a were-jaguar attack.
The group arrives after Nimue’s full resurrection, and kills her coven except of Ganeida. Nimue poisons Alice and flees with Gruagach; Ganeida directs Hellboy to the resting place of the wizard Merlin to save Alice. Hellboy and Daimio excavate Merlin’s still-living body, and Merlin cures Alice before putting her and Daimio to sleep. Merlin tells Hellboy that he is descendant of King Arthur through his mother who was spirited to Hell by his father. When offered Excalibur, Hellboy refuses it after a vision of himself causing the apocalypse. Merlin, having exhausted his magic, disintegrates.
The trio return to London to find the M11 staff dead and Bruttenholm missing. They follow Nimue to St Paul’s Cathedral, and Hellboy fights an empowered Gruagach aided by Daimio in were-jaguar form. Nimue kills Gruagach, and knocks Hellboy into Arthur’s hidden tomb that holds Excalibur. Hellboy initially refuses to pull the sword, but reneges when Nimue kills Bruttenholm. The sword’s removal opens a portal to Hell from which demons emerge and attack London. Alice channels Bruttenholm’s spirit to dissuade Hellboy and he decapitates Nimue, throwing her head into the closing portal after the demons are sent back to hell. Hellboy and Bruttenholm exchange farewells, and Daimio discards the special bullet.
Six months later, the trio raid a cult club where they find the water tank of an Ichthyo sapien. In a mid-credits scene, Hellboy is consoled at Bruttenholm’s grave by the ghost of his hero Lobster Johnson. In a post-credits scene, Baba Yaga enlists an unseen force to seek out Hellboy with the promise of allowing him to finally die.