Iron Man can keel over dead, Wall.E rust in a corner, Kung Fu Panda choke on his chopsticks and Hancock sear his black butt on a hot grill; the most satisfying summer movie to date has to be Guillermo del Toro's flat-out beautiful Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.
Never been a fan of CGI, not the way it's being churned out by Hollywood nowadays, but del Toro's are actually palatable--he puts in enough texture and seen-through-the-corner-of-one's-eye visual blur that you accept much of it as solid, even real
And more than the solidity is the sheer beauty of some of the creations--the slumbering stone giant, the forest god rampaging in Brooklyn, the prince and princess with their pale pallor and shared injuries. Del Toro gives his pop pulp a poetry he feels it deserves--feels so strongly you're halfway persuaded, yourself.
Along with the elevated visuals are elevated emotions, like soap opera on a larger stage. Liz and Hellboy's relationship enters a new phase, Abe Sapiens finds a new reason to be around, and even the putative villains--a father, son, daughter--are playing out a family drama with consequences that reach beyond their own underground realm. One thinks of them as Muslim insurgents, exiled royalty, sole survivors of a dying culture, and this sense of tragedy colors the film's conflict. As the prince puts it to Hellboy: "You have more in common with us than them, demon."
Great fun, wonderful art. Go see.