Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Hellboy 2019

A Reel Leadership Article

The movie theater has been a great place for those who love comic book movies. Last week, theatergoers were treated to the DC Comics movie Shazam! In two weeks, audiences will be treated to the Avengers: Infinity War sequel Endgame, and this weekend saw the release of Dark Horse Comics Hellboy.

Hellboy is the 3rd Hellboy movie to be released in the theaters. The first two starred a man who nailed the look of Hellboy, Ron Perlman. Sadly, Perlman did not return for the latest entry in the Hellboy series as this is more of a reboot than a sequel.

Hellboy, Alice, and Major Ben Daimio in the new Hellboy movie 2019

The Hellboy movie is based upon the Mike Mignola comic books and graphic novels. Hellboy is stuck in a war between the supernatural and human worlds.

While I remember the original Hellboy movies to be a fun, fairly upbeat series of movies, the latest Hellboy movie takes a dark turn. It’s much darker and grittier than the previous movies. This will turn some people off.

I found it hard to connect with this movie as it departed so much from the ones I’d grown to love. This Hellboy is vulgar and violent. It was a struggle to watch as it wasn’t what I expected. Yet, there will be those who enjoy this movie.

Through all of this, Hellboy does contain many leadership lessons you can take away from a viewing of this film. That’s what we’re going to look at today: The leadership lessons in Hellboy.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Hellboy

1. Not everyone will be upfront with you:

Hellboy opens with a blast from the past. There are two characters you might recognize. These characters are King Arthur (Mark Stanley) and Merlin (Brian Gleeson). These two were in trouble and had to do something quickly.

Nimue/The Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) had called for the surrender of King Arthur. Her call did not go unheeded. Though it didn’t go the way she’d believed it would.

Arthur and Merlin pretended to peacefully surrender. When the time came for them to give up, they chose to fight. They were able to defeat the Blood Queen and bring some peace to their kingdom.

People are not always truthful. This may be to protect themselves, others, or because they’re generally untrustworthy individuals. In the case of Arthur and Merlin, they were not upfront with Nimue because of her evil plan to take over.

Knowing this, you have to be aware of the fact people won’t tell you the truth all of the time. They’ll keep things hidden from you or only tell you half the truth.

With this information, you can prepare yourself for surprises. Look out for those who are not being upfront. Know there are things your team is not telling you.

2. Friends and business partners will turn on you:

Hellboy (David Harbour) began a search for a missing B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) agent. This agent, Esteban Ruiz (Mario de la Rosa), was discovered to be hiding as Lucha Libre wrestler Camazotz.

As Hellboy entered the arena, Ruiz called him out. He recognized him as a B.P.R.D. agent and made the crowd go wild. He then said he would fight Hellboy.

Why did Ruiz do this? Because he had been turned. Ruiz was no longer merely mortal. He’d been changed into a Man-Bat thing that attacked Hellboy violently.

I think it’s safe to assume we’ve all had friends or business partners we thought were great allies… Only to discover they weren’t who they said they were. If you haven’t, that’s great. However, I know I’ve been burned more than once or twice on friendships and business relationships.

These violations of trust and friendship sting. They hurt because we cared for them. But it’s a sad reality. There will be people in our lives that will not stay loyal. They will make bad decisions, stab us in the back, and walk away from us.

While this sucks, you will survive. Everyone has been betrayed at some point in their journey. The key is to be able to stand tall while you’ve been betrayed. Don’t let someone’s betrayal turn you into a bad leader. It’s them, not you.

3. Hellboy:

Like father, like son.

Hellboy’s adoptive father, Professor Bruttenholm, pronounced Broom,  (Ian McShane), was a jerk. He was abrasive and harsh.

Watching Hellboy, you learn Professor Bruttenholm is no different than his father. Professor Bruttenholm’s father was just as harsh as he was. As Hellboy so eloquently put it, “Like father, like son.”

We know many children turn out just like their parents. A lot of our traits come from the nurturing we receive growing up. Did you know we also get our leadership traits in a similar way?

The leaders you follow will influence the way you lead. You find a kind and gentle leader, you will lead in the same way. You find a leader who is an egomaniac… There’s a good chance you’ll become an egotistical leader.

You don’t have a choice of who will be your parents. You do have a choice of the leaders you follow. Choose wisely.

4. What was meant for evil can be used for good:

Grigori Rasputin (Markos Rounthwaite) and a band of Nazis summoned Hellboy to Earth. Their plan was to use him to help conquer the world.

Professor Bruttenholm and the Osiris Club had been sent to kill Hellboy once he was summoned during Rasputin’s ceremony. Bruttenholm had a change of heart when he saw the little Hellboy. He couldn’t kill the poor creature.

Rather, he chose to take Hellboy and raise him as a normal boy. He turned what could have been an evil, demonic creature and used him for good.

You’ll experience hurt throughout your time as a leader. Whether it’s a betrayal from a friend or a bad business decision, leaders hurt. They feel pain and regret for the decisions that are made.

This doesn’t mean bad decisions and bad relationships cannot be used for good. Bad business decisions can be used for good by looking for the positives of the bad decision. Look for what you can learn.

Broken relationships can show you where you need to work on your relationship building. Or you might see blind spots and discover upcoming issues you wouldn’t have seen before.

Use what was meant for evil for good.

5. Create the right environment for excellent work:

One of the things the new Hellboy movie did was set an excellent atmosphere for the movie. The colors were darker and grittier. You could tell the movie was going to be a darker movie by this. Yet, Hellboy also showed flair.

Throughout the Hellboy movie, the music soundtrack drew the audience into the movie. Lively, energetic, fun music played during fight scenes. Somber music played in the sad scenes.

The movie was enhanced because of the tone and environment the visual and audio elements used. You can do the same in your organization.

Choose the right colors for your office and conference rooms. Make the areas people will be doing work enjoyable to be there. Also, make these areas conducive to doing great work.

You might also think about the audible environment for your organization. Are workers clustered together and it’s noisy? You might want to consider spacing people out or giving them their own office. Or do you pump music into the office? Is the music the right tone to get your people energized and ready to work?

You have to look at all aspects of your environment to create a place where people can do their best work. Fix this and you can engage your team members more easily.

6. Leadership can feel awkward:

The Osiris Club betrayed Hellboy. They used the ruse of a giant attack to lure Hellboy to their trap. They called Professor Bruttenholm for help and encouraged him to send Hellboy for help.

When Hellboy and the Club went to seek out the giants, the members of the Osiris Club turned on him. They shot him with electrified spears and tried to kill him. They almost succeeded, if it weren’t for those pesky giants.

The giants wiped the floor with the bodies of the Osiris Club. They smashed and crushed the club members. Hellboy was able to survive the initial assault…

Then the giants realized Hellboy was alive. Hellboy went on the offensive and killed the first two giants. This left only one.

That’s when Hellboy saw a GIGANTIC sword. He made his way to the sword (it was, once again, massive). He picked up the sword. And then he killed the giant.

Hellboy was able to defeat the threat. However, he looked and felt awkward as he slew the last giant. The sword did not fit snuggly in his grip. Rather, it was unwieldy and too big for him to use well.

Sometimes, you’re going to be tossed into situations where you feel out of your league. Or maybe you don’t know how to use the tools at your disposal. This will make you feel awkward.

You will stare at your surroundings, trying to figure out how you can get through this. You’ll pick up a tool and try to use it. It doesn’t feel like it will work well. Then you discover you can wield the tool and it’ll do the job.

Don’t let your awkward feelings get in the way of leading and using the tools at hand. It’s okay to feel awkward. It’s not okay to let those feelings control you.

7. Hellboy:

Alice (Sasha Bianca Lane) is the only person I trust.

Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim, who played Chin Ho Kelly on Hawaii Five-O) wanted Hellboy to go on a mission. Hellboy refused to go unless he had someone he could trust on the mission. This person was Alice.

Alice was someone he knew a long time. He’d saved Alice when she was younger. She had his trust.

Do you have people you can trust in your organization? These are the people you know will have your back, through thick and thin. These are also the people who will knock sense into you when you get off track.

It’s great to have people on your team you can trust. You can go to them with concerns or issues you’re experiencing. These people will have your back and help you along.

Find people you can trust. Bring them onto your team. They will be the backbone of your organization.

8. What you did in the past will impact your future:

I already mentioned Hellboy saved Alice when she was a child. He didn’t have to but he made the choice to help her and her family. This paid dividends in the future when he needed it.

Alice could commune with the dead. The dead were telling her to kill Hellboy. She chose not to because of Hellboy’s past actions.

We’ve all done things in our past we’re not proud of. We’ve also all done things in the past we didn’t have to but that helped others.

Our past actions will impact our future. The bad things you did, they may come to haunt you. The good things you did, they can come back and return the favor.

Make sure you’re doing more of the right things. Doing the right thing is never wrong and will return interest in the future.

9. Hellboy:

I’m drawing my own line in the sand.

Hellboy had long taken orders from his dad. He followed what he said but after a meeting with Baba Yaga, he decided it was time for him to stand on his own.

At some point, you will have to draw a line in the sand. You will have to say “This is who I am, this is how we do business, and I’m okay if you’re not with me.”

Leaders have to draw a line in the sand. They have to be able to tell their people what needs to happen and that they have to do it the right way.

Are you willing to draw a line in the sand? It’s what leaders do.

10. Leaders will be tempted to do the wrong thing:

Hellboy discovered he was a descendant of King Arthur. Because of this, he would be able to hold the sword Excalibur.

When Hellboy touched the sword, he saw an apocalyptic vision. Hellboy would gain great power. He would also go on to bring Hell to Earth.

The power was tempting. He could hear the sword call out to him. He wanted the power so badly.

With leadership comes power. The power to encourage, build up, and grow people. Another power comes with leadership as well. The power to demean, destroy, and seek out one’s own will.

You will be tempted like Hellboy. You will be tempted to talk down, demoralize, and destroy your team at times. But you can’t give in to those temptations.

Rather, notice the temptation. Realize the temptation isn’t right. Then do the opposite.

11. Professor Bruttenholm’s Ghost:

This isn’t you, Hellboy. You’re better than this.

Sadly, Professor Bruttenholm dies in this Hellboy movie. After his death, Alice was able to give voice to Professor Bruttenholm’s ghost. He said something to Hellboy that stopped him from going down the wrong road.

Hellboy had taken possession of Excalibur. The power he’d been given was great. He could go and destroy the world. He was on his way to doing so. This is when his dad’s spirit spoke to him.

Professor Bruttenholm knew Hellboy. He knew Hellboy was better than a world destroyer. He told his son as much. This stopped Hellboy from continuing to hold the power of the sword.

Leaders need people who will check them when they let their power run wild. Hellboy had this in his father. You need to have someone like Professor Bruttenholm in your life.

This person will have the power to call you back when you begin to do things that don’t align with your vision, mission, and code of conduct. You will allow this person to smack some sense into you and call you back to the person you are.

Question: Have you seen the new Hellboy movie? If you have, what leadership lessons did you take away? If you haven’t seen the movie, what Reel Leadership lessons from Hellboy that I shared resonated with you? Let me know in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.