Monique and I just finished watching Hellboy II. Well, technically I just finished watching Hellboy II, and Monique watched the first hour and thirty minutes or so of Hellboy II.
I think it's safe to say that if Monique had to choose a word to describe it, she might select "crappy". I wasn't quite so down on it, but I have to admit that it was pretty disappointing. The part that's really disappointing is that we both liked the first Hellboy movie. I just don't think the movie ever quite caught the wittiness and tone of the first effort. Also, it felt like the whole film was driven by overly long special effects sequences and battle scenes instead of storytelling.
I guess this makes it the second time this year that Monique has walked out on the sequel to an action flick that we liked. (She also marched out on The Dark Knight, with much more animus in that case. She really hated that movie.)
I don't know quite why it's so hard to capture the magic a second time with an action flick, but it certainly is a rare happening. It's almost as if they're making the same movie again, so why can't they get it right? It kind of reminds me of all the sequels to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg and Lucas got the tone just right in the first movie, but they were never able to get that tone right again for an entire movie. I think the real problem was that they kept trying to top their previous efforts. But there was a relaxed feel to that first one that was what put it over the top. It was the same thing with Hellboy II, it felt like more effort went into trying to top the effects and action sequences of the first one than went into the storytelling.
On the other hand the really good version of The Maltese Falcon (the 1941 version with Humphrey Bogart) was actually the third time in ten years that the studios made that flick, so I guess sometimes a movie does get better the more times you make it.