These were the things that factored in to me giving it an Above Average as well. If there's one thing that felt weak in this movie, it was del Toro's screenplay. The pacing felt a little "start-and-stop" the whole movie. Though I certainly enjoyed what was happening onscreen, I could never really get in-sync with it. A great movie will draw you in completely; Hellboy II grabbed my eyes, but I had trouble getting similarly involved with the story aspects. And while I liked how del Toro gave us the origins of the Golden Army and introduced us to the major players in it (cleverly through John Hurt's nightime story to a young Hellboy back in 1955) those things and people we heard about in the story -- namely Prince Nuada -- weren't nearly as satisfying in the movie itself. Nuada had the potential to be an interesting, multi-layered villain, but instead comes across as very... flat. Two-dimensional, one might say. A garden variety "moustache-twirler." The ruthless Nazi villains of the first film easily got more development than he does, and the under-developed Nuada is probably one of the movie's most disappointing failures. Also, while the Golden Army does look amazing, the glimpse we saw of them couldn't have been longer than 10 minutes; being the namesake of the movie, I expected they'd play a larger role than they did. Instead, the Golden Army is, for the most part, an unseen entity whose primary role is making Nuada seem villanous and powerful. I can't help but be reminded of Star Trek: Nemesis; The similarities between Shinzon and Nuada, as well as the Golden Army and the Scimitar's Thalaron weapon, are certainly there. Also... Johann Krauss. While I liked the character and the friction he had with Hellboy, it led to a decreased role for Jeffrey Tambor, who ends up being criminally underused. A real shame. Another gripe is about the comedy in this movie; it always seemed to hit the same note. It seemed like Hellboy had chance after chance to deliver hilarious, unique one-liners... but del Toro instead just gave us some really unispired stuff, which is a disappointment considering how many sparks of fun and excitement Hellboy's quick wit shot throughout the first movie. That magic was a glaring omission in this one. The movie may certainly have its detractors, but it has plenty of stuff to like, too. For instance, I loved this movie for the sheer quirkiness of it. It was unlike anything else I've ever seen. Where else can you find a red demon and a bipedal fish drunkenly singing a Barry Manillow song together? Hilarious! Also loved the scene where Hellboy punches out Johann's dome, and though you think he's killed him for a minute (which is hilarious to consider, given that Johann had been talking trash just seconds earlier) you remember that he's ectoplasmic and he then starts beating Hellboy with the locker doors. Great! Regarding the cinematography, I really liked the shot where Hellboy tosses the baby he resuced up into the air -- and we see the baby flying upward, toward the camera, and the tyke fills up the entire frame before falling back down to Earth. Really liked that shot. And then there's the last shot, which freezes on Hellboy's face for a second or two before cutting to black. Something about that struck me as being very retro -- very 80's, early 90's -- which I liked; it was unexpected. And, hey, I suppose such a shot is appropriate for a movie that includes a song by Barry Manillow. Bonus points for the abundant amount of BRPD agents. I love seeing all those guys in their identical suits. They're such great set pieces (of sorts), helping our quirky, abnormal characters stand out even more than they already do. And special bonus points for the shots of lovely Selma Blair strutting around in her underwear... in a movie with big-budgeted monsters and effects, that just may have stole the show.