The good thing about super-hero movies is that they don't take themselves seriously at all. Super-heroes can rip the heads off prehistoric monsters, and then get soppy over a girl. They can laugh in the face of world annihilation, and it's usually over a corny joke. And they turn out surprisingly well, given that their family tree usually includes at least one alien or insect or denizen of the dungeon dimension. And that's just on the mother's side.
But a super hero is also a freak and they have a place for people like that, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Official motto: There are things that go bump in the night. We are the ones that bump back. Ahem.
The bureau is run by Prof. Broom, who adopts a demon child that arrived through the student exchange program from hell. This is all the result of a Nazi experiment gone horribly wrong (meaning something good came out of it). Enter tiny red baby with horns and a tail.
Hellboy (Ron Perlman back as the Beast minus the Beauty) is a pretty adorable chap for the spawn of Satan. He files his horns, calls a doddering old scientist daddy, and when faced with imminent and painful death he goes, "Aw crap". Might not have the same ring as 'Batman to the rescue', but just as effective.
When he's not consuming vast quantities of pancakes or saving mankind from the Apocalypse, Hellboy spends time hitting on his spontaneously combustible girlfriend (Selma Blair as Liz Sherman). Also lusting after the anemically attractive Liz is John Myers (Rupert Evans), who is Hellboy's 'liaison officer', which means he stands back when anything remotely dangerous is happening. Which it does happen, a lot.
For one thing, Rasputin is back. Rasputin, who? Mandatory evil man with mandatory thin cold voice and mandatory plan to end the world. This ex-member of Hitler's disbanded occult club is joined by a she-wolf and the Kroenen, indestructible knife-wielding warriors. But the real terror is Sammael, a tentacle-headed killer with rather liberal views on reproduction. This creature can melt your flesh and suck it up. Understandably, this makes people nervous.
On the good side, there's Hellboy and his stone arm (very useful if you want to get to the ground floor and the lift isn't working), Liz the pouty pyrokinetic, John Myers with his 'pure heart', and the web-footed psychic Abe Sapien (voice-over by Frasier's brilliant David Hyde Pierce).
The rest is predictable but fun, with a moral and everything. But mostly it's slimy monsters vs. good guys, and plenty of bad jokes all around (Hellboy as he smashes into the tentacled monster trying to suck his flesh off, "Second date, no tongue!"). In short, everything you'd expect from a movie called Hellboy.