7. Cronos (1993)
Del Toro directed his first feature film, Cronos, at just 29 years old, and he quickly managed to establish his vision and brand. Very well received in the early 90s, Cronos offered a sophisticated yet offbeat variation on vampirism and the horror film. With a cast consisting of Federico Luppi and Ron Perlman, Cronos was a terrific example of a breakthrough directorial feature; a film seemingly not as popular as some of this director’s work but certainly one of his most important nonetheless.
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6. Hellboy (2004)
Prior to the major success of superhero cinema under the Marvel Studios banner, Hellboy was perhaps one of the most popular comic book film franchises of the early 00s. Its vibrating energy and creative visual effects worked to emphasise and celebrate the ludicrous story rather than overshadow it, and in re-teaming with Ron Perlman some 11 years after their first collaboration, Del Toro gifted the talented actor arguably his most memorable role.
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5. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
‘Visionary’ is a word that many critics have given to the Hellboy series, particularly to The Golden Army, as Del Toro shrewdly managed to combine the two threads of his career – the mainstream Hollywood movie and the imaginative flair seen in Pan’s Labyrinth (released two years earlier).
While often forgotten by audiences and critics alike as regards the greatest comic book adaptations of all time due to its distinct differences from what we now associate with the sub-genre’s spectacle-driven cinema of the 2010s, Hellboy was a distinctive, creative and very Del Toro release, The Golden Army showcasing the director’s recognisable visual and thematic traits despite it being a work of adaptation.
4. Pacific Rim (2013)
At number four we place the most expensive of Del Toro’s ten features: Pacific Rim.
It may be useful to describe this film with the words of Martin Scorsese; a ‘theme park movie’. It’s big, it’s action-packed and it’s thrilling, and it’s therefore different from Del Toro’s other films. The sci-fi narrative suggests inspiration from Blade, yet the real-world context and themes make it much more thought-provoking and simultaneously harrowing.
Pacific Rim offered the director an almost infinite budget for a spectacle-driven entry into his filmography, and in return Del Toro offered the world a unique blockbuster experience with noticeably different ideologies at its core than most films of its type – the mark of a truly unique filmmaker with immovable ideals of acceptance and togetherness.