Hellboy (Guillermo del Toro) - 2004

This unlikely hero was actually born in 1993 in a four-page publication made for the San Diego Comic Con written by Mike Mignola and published by Dark Horse Comics.  The movie begins with the demon toddler being released from the nether world by the Nazis in the middle of WWII.  Fortunately, the Allies grabbed him and raised him to serve the western world in its continuing battle against the forces of evil.  Ron Perlman plays Hellboy as a surly galoot with a pessimistic attitude and a fondness for furry kittens.  In spite of being outnumbered by ugly creatures that will not die, fireproof Hellboy has the stamina to defeat the enemy and destroy many parts of a major city in the process.  He does have two paranormal friends whose origins were not explained in the movie.  Abe Sapien is an aquatic mind-reader and telepath; and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) is a moody young woman who turns into a human matchstick when she is having a bad day.  It seems that Hellboy, Liz and Abe could have been members of the X-Men or Fantastic Four in a parallel universe.  This first episode by director del Toro set a high standard for special effects and horrible monsters.  Unlike Superman, Batman, et al., Hellboy does not have a secret identity and does not seem to care who knows about his redness.  Two human characters (Rupert Evans and Jeffrey Tambor) were saved for the sequel.  [JAM 3/5/2011]