Hellboy arrived in cinemas last month and flopped with both critics and at the box office. Neil Marshall’s reboot of the Dark Horse Comics character is currently sitting at a paltry 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, as reviews have been particularly brutal. For comparison, the first two Hellboy movies have earned an 81% and 85% rating, respectively.
Of course, the question on everyone’s mind now is why exactly it failed. Some may argue that no one really wanted a new Hellboy, while others may point to the absence of Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman, with Neil Marshall and David Harbour hardly being the biggest draws at the box office. And we haven’t even mentioned the casting controversies, which originally saw Ed Skrein signing on for the role of Ben Daimio, a Japanese-American character.
While it’s unlikely we’ll ever know the full extent of what went wrong, Harbour has now opened up a bit on the troubled production, admitting that unfortunately, a lot of the decisions that were made were out of his control.
“We did our best, but there’s so many voices that go into these things and they’re not always going to work out. I did what I could do and I feel proud of what I did, but ultimately I’m not in control of a lot of those things.”
Continuing on, Harbour explained his issue with comic book films in general while also admitting that Hellboy had some major problems.
“The problem that I have with comic book movies nowadays is that I think, and it’s a result of the power of Marvel stuff, it’s like chocolate, it’s a flavour. So everybody goes chocolate is delicious and these guys make the best chocolate. So as you judge the movies, it’s like, ‘Well it’s not as chocolatey as this, this does not taste like chocolate at all.’ And I sort of want a world where there’s more flavours than just comparisons to chocolate.
So in that way when Hellboy is viewed on the chocolate spectrum, it does very poorly. That being said, it also has major problems. I think as a rental or as a movie that you see on an airplane, I think you’d be like, ‘Oh that was fun’ because it’s a fun movie, and I think it was unfairly bludgeoned as a result of these comparisons.”
While the actor’s candid thoughts are interesting, nothing can change the fact that the much anticipated reboot was a failure on almost every level. And after waiting so long to see Big Red back on the big screen, that’s truly a shame.
Thankfully, though, we’ve heard that Hellboy may still have a bright future ahead of him on Netflix, with the streaming service said to be planning a TV show for the beloved antihero. Whether it’ll be able to make up for the missteps of the recent outing remain to be seen, we’ll certainly keep our fingers crossed until we learn more.