Competing for my summer movie dollar, Hellboy II narrowly lost to Iron Man and Indiana Jones. I had a chance to snap it up during DeepDiscount.com's annual DVD sale, but again it narrowly lost to TV series sets, so I was glad to receive the single-disc release as a Christmas present from my cousin Alan and family.
I haven't watched Hellboy in some time, so I can't say in detail how the two compare. I wasn't let down, nor would I say Hellboy II is clearly better. The sequel delivers on the essential character points of the returning cast while offering a more nuanced look at good and evil. The human bystanders Hellboy wants to be accepted by aren't all that innocent. The elven prince looking to wage war on humankind isn't such a bad guy.
While this felt like an episode in a Hellboy series primed to continue, writer-director Guillermo del Toro spends enough time on the details and makes the heroes and villains feel like people first.