Ranking Guillermo del Toro Films
Guillermo del Toro’s filmography is solid, but not great. Most of his films are just solid and his shift to American films was unfortunate as his Spanish efforts are much better and more unique, but still some of his films are so good and one of them is my favorite modern movie of them all. His style with grotesque designs and a reliance on insect imagery makes all of his movies easy to identify and unique. Here is my ranking of all nine of his feature films so far.
9. Blade II
I am not the biggest fan of the Blade franchise and thus this second entry in the trilogy gets the last spot on this list. It is as shallow and as weakly plotted as you would expect from the franchise, but still it is the best entry in this trilogy thanks to del Toro’s involvement which brought a lot of fun visuals and great action to the table. It is his worst, but not a bad movie at all.
I am not a fan of this franchise too unfortunately. And the first movie is the weaker of the two for sure. It does have its interesting visuals and characters, but it was mostly too dull to me as I just was not engaged properly. It also never really utilized on its interesting mythology and different characters particularly well.
7. Pacific Rim
Now I do usually dislike robots and mecha media and surely this movie is filled with too much action and its second half is just incredibly boring with action after action with no plot whatsoever. But the first half is actually quite solid and I really liked the film’s visuals as well as Idris Elba and Charlie Day’s characters. That’s why Pacific Rim ultimately was better than expected for me.
6. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Hellboy II: The Golden Army still has a weak plot and some dull characters and it is again not as entertaining as it should have been, but it is an improvement over its predecessor thanks to very strong VFX work with great creature designs and some fun action sequences and excellent mythology.
I really liked Mimic and it is an underrated film. It has quite dull characters and weaker performances, but it is a solid film which utilized on del Toro’s obsession with insects in a big way and we get great insect monsters here along with a superb horror atmosphere and some exhilarating action sequences. It’s a flawed, but fun movie.
Now Cronos is the director’s movie that disappointed me the most as its dialogue is quite weak and the film unfortunately succumbed to typical genre territory in its third act. But before that, it was a pretty good movie with an admittedly authentic, detailed and very intriguing plot and a really interesting take on the horror genre.
3. The Devil’s Backbone
The only flaw in this movie is that it was never as atmospheric or as creepy as the premise needed it to have been. But other than that, it is one of his best movies thanks in large part to its emotionally resonant story with many touching moments. The visuals are also expectedly great and the film is overall superbly scripted and shot.
2. Crimson Peak
And yes, Crimson Peak gets this very high second spot because it truly is great film and del Toro’s most underrated one unfortunately. It does have its too repulsive moments, but the entire story is so well crafted and meticulous in detail that I loved it nonetheless. But it succeeds the most because it is just so atmospheric and creepy in its visuals with a great gothic feel to it. I found it mysterious and authentic. A great return to form for the director.
1. Pan’s Labyrinth
Sad and touching, visually arresting, beautifully scored and so authentic and dark in its story, Pan’s Labyrinth is just such a classic movie for the ages with one of the best ever film villains in disturbingly competent Captain Vidal. It has a bunch of unforgettable scenes, memorable characters and a great, different approach to the usual fantasy format while also being very strong as a war drama. It is simply a beautiful movie that I watched three times by now and it gets better and better after each viewing. A masterpiece by all means.