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Hellboy Trailer: Big Red Battles Beasts Of All Kinds

Christmas has come a little early, and Lionsgate has given us a devilishly cool present. 

Lionsgate had originally planned to unleash the first official trailer for Hellboy, the Neil Marshall-directed reboot that places Stranger Things favorite David Harbour in the title role, on Thursday, December 20. After the footage slipped through the cracks and oozed through the studio's seal to make its way online and all over social media, Lionsgate got ahead of the leak and released the Hellboy trailer itself on Wednesday instead. (Good on ya, Lionsgate! And good for us fans at home!)

Opening with a tiny taste of Hellboy's fluency in sass, with the half-demon snarking "Are you serious?" when a woman at a fish and chip shop calls him "love" and tells him she needs "some I.D.," the real start of trailer establishes a tone that contrasts this light and bright one. 

"They warned us that something was coming," an unseen woman says in voiceover. Another voice, a man's this time, adds, "If there is ever an end in this forever war, it will be because of you and your strong right hand."

This individual they speak of is Hellboy (duh!) and his powerful appendage is the Right Hand of Doom, the stone hand he inherited from his father shortly after his birth. And the "end in this forever war"? Yeah, that's a reference to Big Red's identity as the Beast of the Apocalypse — the individual prophesied to bring about the end of the world by letting loose hordes of demons known as the Ogdru Jahad.

But the World Destroyer, the Great Beast, the Son of the Fallen One — those monikers only tell half of Hellboy's story. He's also a monster hunter who works for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Development, the organization his adoptive father, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), founded in order to "fight the forces of darkness" and mark "a line in the sand" between innocent humans and insidious, supernatural dangers they would never survive. 

The trailer captures Hellboy's struggle between going through with annihilating the world and continuing to protect it from literal monstrous threats, showing a soldier shooting at the half-demon before he can assure him that he's on the side of the humans and including a quip from Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) that he thought the B.P.R.D. was "supposed to be fighting monsters, not working with them." Though he protects them day in and day out, humans haven't taken Hellboy in with open arms — and neither has the underworld, whose forces are attempting to lure him to their side and catalyze the apocalypse. 

After Hellboy escapes getting a bullet in his back, the footage takes another jump to a different tone. The meat of the trailer is pretty easy-breezy, with "Mony Mony" by Billy Idol adding a layer of Guardians of the Galaxy-esque fun to the whole thing, and plays out almost exactly like the clip that was shown at New York Comic-Con earlier this year

Hellboy, Ben, and Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane) enter the restaurant that acts as a cover for the B.P.R.D.; Hellboy confronts his father and accuses him of "making him a damn weapon" rather than treating him as a living thing; Professor Bruttenholm insists that he simply wanted to help Hellboy be the best version of himself; Alice asks if she, Ben, and Hellboy are meant to be "saving the world or something"; a fancy-pants rich guy inspects Hellboy's Right Hand of Doom and asks if it can do anything special; Professor Bruttenholm says that Hellboy is "mankind's best and only hope"; and then Hellboy crosses paths with Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) before emerging from the pits of hell with the flaming Crown of the Apocalypse between his now full-length horns. 

In between all that, Hellboy battles a bunch of creatures even bigger, badder, and uglier (sorry, Red) than he is — like the Russian witch Baba Yaga, featured in the Darkness Calls comic upon which Hellboy is partially based. He also manages to insult Ben by poking fun at his facial scars — "Who you calling monster pal, you look in the mirror recently?" — and calling him "an a**hole." Because even when you're having an existential crisis and can't decide if you're more demon or more human, you can still throw shade. 

On the whole, this trailer might not be what fans were expecting. Since the film was announced, it's been billed as dark and gritty, a hard-R-rated take on the Hellboy comics, and a "real monster movie." What's featured in the footage here doesn't really fall in line with that description, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, and it certainly doesn't mean that the film won't end up feeling as intense as promised. This trailer is, after all, only the first one we've seen and represents just two and a half minutes of what's bound to be a two-hour movie. 

While trailers are literally meant to be judged by their covers, they've lied to audiences in the past, so those out there thinking that Hellboy will be all camp and joke-cracking simply because the trailer is on the more exuberant side might want to hold off on making final decisions regarding how they feel about the film until they see the finished product in theaters. 

They can do just that when Hellboy – which also stars Brian Gleeson, Sophie Okonedo, Penelope Mitchell, Alistair Petrie, and Laila Morse — arrives on April 12, 2019.