I feel, when I’m watching Hellboy, like I’m walking around a beautiful garden in Italy, with sculptures by famous Renaissance artists whose name I don’t know and don’t care about, being in awe of the beauty, in ecstasy .. while my friend wanders around burping and laughing about South Park.* It’s so boring and bad because of the main character, Blandy McNoName… You know, the cute-ish white guy who falls in love with the weird girl. (Who strangely ends up with a large red guy with a goatee. So that’s neat.) The first movie is boring and bad but with potential; like a weirdo kid hiding his neatness for fear of being made fun of or hurt; it’s the Good Will Hunting of weirdo movies.
Hellboy II however — the first movie I ever saw with my gender-ambiguous-genitals-friend — is beautiful, the best movie ever made. It’s awesome and explores most of the parts from Pan’s Labyrinth but even more than that it’s a beautiful, fantastic movie where the bad guy is fighting for his culture to survive, the gigantic monster wrecking the city elects sympathy and the most beautiful of all possible futures is not at all wonderful at all but the end of the entire world. It’s a dark, fucked-up fairy tale. It’s amazing.
Hellboy III… does not as of yet exist.*** But based on some other sequels we can guess at what’s going to happen. Or, since I hope it doesn’t turn to shit, what’s not going to. TL;DR – here’s a list of why Hellboy III will be the best third superhero movie ever made.
1. The Director Will Not Change
With X-Men and Spider-Man and Iron Man and Superman and Batman, the director changed on the third movie. (Okay, not technically in Spider-Man but the creative team was disturbed by the fact that Raimi was in charge of the first two but not allowed to include his villains or tell his story in three.) X-Men’s last movie was the worst of three, same with Spidey, I haven’t seen Iron Man but since 2 was terrible I assume this one will be better, Superman III is widely not-considered and the third Batflick — here referring to Forever — is objectively completely different than what came before and depending on your opinions it’s not too bad or it’s terrible or who cares?
We do not have to worry about that for HB because no one gives a damn about HB. Except for Guillermo Del Toro. He loves Hellboy; he loves Mike Mignola; and no one else cares. The movies have not made enough money, really, to warrant a third one but they hadn’t really made enough to warrant a second one. How did they get made? Through Del Toro being a boss.
2. The Arc Won’t Change
So with Spidey, X-Men and fuck Batman, the arc changes all of a sudden in the third one. Spidey’s arc is about responsibility for the first two. The X-Men’s is about mutant powers and shit, I dunno. The second movie kinda also introduced a bit about the Phoenix but did not use her for anything in the third movie except… filling the scenery? removing Cyclops from continuity? um… That was about it.
So let’s go with Spidey. The first movie has Peter Parker tell MJ they cannot be together and ends with him walking away. The second one has them get together… and then he leaves her as Spider-Man for his duties. Spider-Man is coming between them. And then in the third it’s some dumb blonde bitch and MJ’s shitty career… and Spider-Man’s success? Spider-Man is a story about not being responsible and dealing with the guilt and trying to redeem yourself. This is changed in the third movie because of the producers. They added another villain, changed the arc, wanted it to be split into two and just threw too many eggs into a recipe that did not call for eggs at all!
Hellboy also has a prominent arc involving redemption. Only in this it’s about Hellboy saving or destroying the world. The second movie leans heavily towards him having no problem ending the world in the hypothetical third (or fourth if we’re lucky!) film if it’ll help save Liz.
So will this happen in the second sequel? No, because producers do not care.
3. Comedy Relief!
The third Spidey movie also has a laughably terrible dancing sequence. The third X-Men has the … laughable? line “I’m the juggernaut, bitch.” The third Superman movie introduces Richard Pryor and the third Batflick introduced Jim Carrey as the Riddler, Jerry Schumacher as Director and Everything Bad About the Nineties as Robin.
We do not have to worry about this because Hellboy could not care less about being serious. There’s a whole comedic bit with Hellboy and a corpse in the first movie. And though the second one is sadder, more morose, there’s still a brilliant and completely plot-relevant point that involves the two male leads drinking and singing together because they’re sad about their lovers. So yeah, no Richard Pryor needed here.
4. Won’t Have Too Much Stuff
Spider-Man 2’s villains (referring to what Spidey must overcome) are as follows: chastity, poverty, Alfred Molina’s acting, Doc Ock, James Franco and his Haircut. Spider-Man 3’s villains are: his popularity, too many chicks wanting him, his atrocious dancing, MJ’s jealousy, a guy made out of sand with a vague goal, James Franco Before Getting Amnesia, James Franco After Getting Amnesia and Topher Grace.**** In case you didn’t notice there’s a few more issues in the third movie. The problem with the third movie is it needs to be a new thing but also continue the plot arc — left hanging at the second are… well… basically nothing gets resolved at the end of any of the Spider-Man movies. In the first one he beats the Goblin but his relationship with Franco, Mary Jane and poverty aren’t any different; nor are they different at the end of the second movie, just pushed more — he’s still not “with” MJ and now Franco has his daddy’s toys. So they had all of that to deal with but then they added two more villains when they needed none. Franco becoming the Green Goblin was all that was really needed.
With Hellboy, his plot arc in the first was, “Me want to be with Liz.” That’s resolved at the end. There’s a tangent about him turning evil but that’s resolved too when he closes the door to Hell (or Space Hell) (or Whatever Shut Up Who Cares).
Second movie, some of the stuff is brought up again — he needs to get back together with Liz for… reasons? (Spoiler alert: pregnancy.) His evilness is brought up again and that’s left hanging but that’s it. Each movie deals with its main villain and character arcs the way you’d expect a pulp movie too. Thoroughly with no concern to a sequel.
Which means that they’re clean to do whatever they want to do with the third movie. It’s less of a sequel and more of a third movie in the series; more akin to a Bond movie than a superhero movie.
Although there aren’t any character arcs left hanging, the Hellboy movies do have an arc of sorts running through them. Like a good TV show, where you can watch each episode and feel complete****, Hellboy has an arc — he’s going to end the world.
So third Hellboy movie? The apocalypse. Though I did mention all of the others had too much stuff, they also conversely didn’t have big enough stakes.***** Spidey 3 doesn’t have Maximum Carnage or Secret Wars. The only comic book movie that has pulled off a perfect third act so far is what could really be counted as Iron Man’s third act — the Avengers but no let’s not deal with that because it’s more of the climax of everything else and also yes but that. That’s what Hellboy will do.
Spider-Man doesn’t end with any huge thing. He’s not revealed. He’s not broken. He’s just punched. In this Hellboy will reach the purpose of his life.
And it will be him ending the world. And it’ll be the biggest, best threequel ever.
6. It Won’t Leave A Dumb Fucking Open Ending
After the Apocalypse, what’s left? Magneto moves a metal thing in The Last Stand. John Blake is Whatever No One Cares. Pepper or Guardians or Black Iron Man or Whatever.
However with Hellboy, there will be no arcs (or Earth) left at the end. It’ll be a perfect, beautiful ending… that is left open to further adventures. Because…
7. Hellboy Is More of an Adventurer Than a Superhero
He’s more Bond than Batman. More Indiana Jones than Spider-Man. He has adventures and he has a life. Unlike The Dark Knight Rises, there can’t be a fourth adventure in the life of Bruce Wayne as Batman. That arc is over. But if, in forty years, Perlman and Del Toro got bored they could make another Hellboy movie. In two decades they could make a fifth movie. Because Hellboy doesn’t have an over-arching plot that can’t be delayed or rewritten. He’s more Angel than anything else. He can go on and reverse his fortunes and fulfill his destiny and redeem himself and continue. Because he’s more than a superhero, he’s an adventurer.
So his third movie doesn’t have to be his last or his best. Just his third.
And that’s why the third Hellboy will be the best Superhero Threequel Ever!
* Not that I dislike South Park or anything.
** Ron Perlman says Guillermo Del Toro owes it to the world to finish the trilogy.
*** J. Jonah Jameson could count but he does not, shut up.
**** Which is almost the exact opposite of most comics. Which just go on and on.
***** Arguably TDKR did, which was its one redeeming feature. It’s non-redeeming features were as follows: everything else that wasn’t the Bane/Littlefinger section. (It’s more offensive feature — no, more than offensive, degrading to itself — was the bit where he talks to himself in his Batman growl, in his voice, to himself, while he’s alone.)