Row erupts over Rotten Tomatoes' 'Hellboy' reboot score reveal

Ben Arnold
Contributor
David Harbour as Hellboy (Credit: Lionsgate)

The new reboot of Hellboy is getting battered by critics. That much is certain.

But there’s a row brewing over how Rotten Tomatoes has decided to unveil the new movie’s lowly approval rating – currently at 10 percent ‘fresh’.

In a tweet, it appeared to be revelling in the fact that the movie is going down in critical flames, and some are calling the site out on it.


Notably, the influential indie cinema chain the Alamo Drafthouse has had its say, pointing out that it might not be so gleeful with a movie from, say, a big hitter like Disney (though it has produced similar videos for Disney movie reveals in the past).


Whatever the case, it does appear that rebooting the comic book demon, with Stranger Things star David Harbour wearing the sawn-off horns, might not have worked out.

Guillermo Del Toro first brought comic book writer Mike Mignola’s Hellboy to the screen in 2004, and then with a sequel, Hellboy: The Golden Army, in 2008.

Read more: David Harbour says Hellboy reboot is ‘ridiculously gory’

Both were hailed by critics and fans, but the appreciation didn’t translate into box office takings, with both movies performing pretty disastrously ($99 million and $160 million respectively).

But the new take – which disgruntled fans hoping for a third Del Toro movie by its very existence – appears to have been a clumsy endeavour.

It took three hours in the make-up chair to transform David Harbour into Hellboy. (Lionsgate)

Made by British director Neil Marshall, who made The Descent and helmed key episodes of Game of Thrones, it’s being battered for its witlessness (where Del Toro’s was praised) and for its needless gore.

Writes Time Out in a one-star review: “It’s two hours long but feels like an eternity, lurching incoherently from one noisy set-piece to another.”

The Playlist reckons: “The attempt here to usher in a new era of the beloved Hellboy demon is so misguided and dismal, you won’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Read more: The great Hellboy ‘virginity’ debate

“Director Neil Marshall’s (who’s looking more and more like a one-hit wonder following 2005’s The Descent) Hellboy is a juvenile mess that one could convincingly believe was made by an edgelordy 13-year-old pleased as punch he’s gotten away with an R-Rating.”

The Washington Post writes: “Marshall and screenwriter Andrew Cosby went overboard with their R-rating, introducing so much gore and profanity that it, quite frankly, gets dull. The flat performances and incoherent story do not help matters.”


Vulture adds: “Hellboy, as conceived, is one of the more interesting comic book heroes we have. He deserves better than this.”

And Variety said: “It’s lunging to be a badass hard-R epic, but it’s basically a pile of origin-story gobbledygook, frenetic and undercooked, full of limb-hacking, eye-gouging monster battles as well as an atmosphere of apocalyptic grunge that signifies next to nothing.”

The Wrap loved it, however, saying it ‘Captures the breathless quality of reading 30 issues of a single comic-book series in one sugar-addled afternoon, shoving as many amazing characters and storylines and images into one film as it can possibly hold’.

It’s out now across the UK.