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Exalted Movie Mondays – Hellboy

October 18, 2010

When my roommate and I discuss movies we’d watch on a loop, there’s not many that come to mind. Hellboy is one of them. If you’re not familiar with it, the comic is perhaps one of the best comics on the market today, especially considering my love for monsters and folklore. It’s produced a number of spin-offs, most of which are good, but we’re here to discuss the movie.

Like any comic book movie, Hellboy starts with his origin. This is the story of how he came to be the character we all know and love. It starts with his adopted father’s adventures during World War II, and follows all the way up to the modern day, where Hellboy learns of his true nature, and learns that he must choose whether or not he is a destroyer or a savior. It investigates the nature of humanity and heroism, and it does it all while punching neat monsters.

Hellboy is probably THE single best Infernals story ever told, which is probably a part of why I love it so much. In fact, the closing lines of the movie (possible spoiler alert) are: “What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once wondered. Is it his origins? The way he comes to life? I don’t think so. It’s the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he decides to end them.” This is, fundamentally, the entire Infernal “redemption” plot, such as it is. It’s not about becoming something other than what you are, but about embracing what you are and what you choose to do with that. It’s not about how you got your power, but about what you do with that power, the decisions you make.

It doesn’t hurt that Hellboy is obviously using Infernal Monster Style. Hell, the writers have called that “Hellboy Style,” and for obvious reasons. Their inspiration was quite apt. He’s probably a Slayer, considering how much of his life is dedicated to fighting (and how poorly he takes to authority that isn’t himself), but regardless, he’s a heroic Infernal.

Even if you’re not big on the Infernal thing, the supporting cast has some excellent performances to deliver. Abraham Sapien, the fish man, is a Lunar (maybe a beastman Sidereal, considering his psychic tendencies). Elizabeth Sherman, the pyrokinetic, is a Fire Aspect. John T. Meyers is a heroic mortal, and a damned fine one at that. The entire group works well, though the focus is obviously Hellboy.

While the movie makes a number of changes from the comics (for example, in the comics, Abe is not psychic, and Liz is not romantically involved with Hellboy), the changes support this particular telling of the story. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in Exalted, which probably includes you if you’re reading my blog.

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