Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a 2008 American supernatural superhero film based on the fictional Dark Horse Comics character Hellboy, starring Ron Perlman and Selma Blair. The movie was directed by Guillermo del Toro and is a sequel to the 2004 film Hellboy, which del Toro also directed. Perlman reprises his role as the eponymous character. The film was commercially released on July 11, 2008 in the United States and Canada by Universal Pictures.
In Christmas of 1955, a young Hellboy is told a bedtime story by his adoptive father, Trevor Broom, involving an ancient war between Man and magical creatures, all started by Man’s greed. After years of battle and defeat of the magical creatures’ forces, the master of the goblin blacksmiths offered to build an indestructible golden mechanical army for King Balor, the one-armed king of the elves. Influenced by his son Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), Balor ordered the building of this Golden Army. Soon the humans attacked again but the Golden Army devastated them so mercilessly that Balor forged a truce with the humans to stop the bloodshed: Man would keep his cities and the magical creatures would keep their forests. Nuada did not agree with the truce, and left in exile. The magical crown controlling the army was broken into three pieces, one piece going to the humans and the other two kept by the elves, so the Golden Army could never be used again.
In the present, Nuada declares war on the humans. He collects the first piece of the crown from an auction, massacring all at the site by unleashing tooth fairies onto them, and kills his father for the second piece of the crown. His twin sister, Princess Nuala (Anna Walton), escapes with the final piece. Meanwhile, Hellboy is having relationship issues with his girlfriend Liz, and trouble accepting that their organization, the B.P.R.D., must remain a secret. During a mission to investigate the massacre at the auction, Hellboy allows himself to be revealed to the world. In the commotion, Abe Sapien discovers that Liz is pregnant. Furious about the public unveiling, the Bureau’s superiors in Washington send a new B.P.R.D. agent, the ectoplasmic medium Johann Krauss, to take command. With Krauss in charge, the team tracks the tooth fairies to the troll market, an enormous merchant city hidden under the Brooklyn Bridge, to search for clues. Abe stumbles onto Nuala, who has obtained a map leading to the Golden Army, during their search, and quickly falls in love with her. She is brought under B.P.R.D. protection following an attack by Nuada’s sidekick, the troll Wink, and an elemental forest god, both of which Hellboy kills. During the elemental fight, Hellboy is questioned by Nuada whether it is right to fight for the humans when he too is perceived by humans as a monster.
Nuada tracks his sister to the B.P.R.D. headquarters using their magical bond, which causes them to share wounds and allows them to read each others’ thoughts to an extent. Nuala, sensing her brother’s arrival, throws the map, along with the canister in which it came, into a fire and hides the final piece of the crown within one of Abe’s books. However, the real map is on the canister. Meanwhile upstairs, Abe and Hellboy become drunk together and sing “Can’t Smile Without You”, by Barry Manilow. Nuada kidnaps his sister and critically wounds Hellboy with his spear. Unable to remove the spear shard, Liz, Abe, and Krauss take Hellboy to the location of the Golden Army, hidden in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. They encounter a Bethmoora goblin, and he brings them before the angel of death, who has been waiting for their arrival. Though warned that Hellboy will doom humanity if he lives, and that she will suffer the most from it, Liz pleads for Hellboy’s life. Amused by her choice, the Angel removes the shard from Hellboy’s chest and tells Liz to give him a reason to live. She reveals to Hellboy that he’s going to be a father, and he recovers.
The goblin leads the team to the resting place of the Golden Army (revealing that he is the builder of it), where Nuada awaits them. In exchange for Nuala, Abe gives him the last piece of the crown. With the crown reformed, Nuada awakens the Golden Army and orders them to kill the team. After a seemingly victorious attack on several of the mechanical soldiers, the group watches in shock as they magically repair themselves. Hellboy challenges Nuada for the right to the crown, and Nuada is forced to accept, since Hellboy is a member of Hell’s royal family (he is mentioned as “Son of the Fallen One”, since his father was a Prince of Sheol). Hellboy defeats Nuada and spares his life, but Nuada tries to stab him when Hellboy turns around. Nuala commits suicide to stop her brother: the dying Nuada tells Hellboy he will one day have to choose whether humanity or the magical beings must die out. Abe rushes to Nuala and psychically tells her his feelings for her—and cries after previously implying that he cannot smile, or cry—before she and her brother turn to stone and die. Liz then melts the crown, shutting down the Golden Army forever. As the team leave the underground compound, Tom Manning reprimands them for their actions. To his surprise, Hellboy, Liz, Abe, and Krauss all hand over their belts and announce their resignation from the B.P.R.D. (though Hellboy keeps one of his guns for when the world needs him again). As they walk away, Hellboy contemplates his future life with Liz and their baby. Liz stops and corrects him, saying “babies”, surprising him with the fact that she is pregnant with twins by holding up two fingers.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film: