Movie Mind Says: Add to Online Rental List
If You Like This You Should Watch: Jumper
Better Than: My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Worse Than: Iron Man
Starring: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron
Hancock is a tale of two-halves, starting out as light-hearted, funny, and entertaining, only to cross over into more of a sci-fi thriller focusing on more than just a flawed superhero. I personally preferred the latter, where for the first time since The Man of Steel turned evil in Superman III, we saw inside a much conflicted hero and what life in our world is like. I feel that the story took a turn into the realm of what is typically produced from the genre instead of keeping to this in-depth character portrait it began as. Will Smith is somewhat handcuffed in the role but still manages to be someone I can’t stop watching. He kept the film from completely derailing, since this film could have been the “only one of its kind” instead of your run of the mill superhero flick.
Will Smith is a crass, drunken, obnoxious superhero who may have the “super” part down pat (he can fly and lift cars & buildings and all that schwag) but he has a long way to go in order to learn how to play the part of a “hero”. He is so detached from society that even when he saves lives, people still wish he would go away. Whether it is his poor attitude or the tremendous wake of destruction he leaves behind, he can’t catch a break in the eyes of his fellow Los Angelinos. So when he happens to save the life of Ray Embrey (Bateman), a PR expert with a heart of gold, things may finally start to turn around for Hancock. Although when Ray’s wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), fails to warm up to Hancock, we learn that it may take a lot more to fix him than Ray is prepared for.
Hancock’s first memory is waking up in a hospital some 80 years ago with no idea of who he was or how he got there. The hospital needed his “John Hancock”, and the legend had a name. He was told his head was shattered yet he baffled the doctors with his skull’s otherworldly healing. Since he doesn’t age, and can pretty much save the world while nursing a bad hangover, he hasn’t really had to work at making people like him. But by following Ray’s PR advice, Hancock’s new image and polish is starting to win over some former detractors. Although before you get excited about seeing a feature on this unique character, be prepared to get thrust back into something you’ve seen a hundred times. We all know Will Smith wasn’t going to play a part where he is an a-hole for the whole film, but the manner in which he converts is a letdown. Let’s just say there is a twist in the script whose unwrapping is much more of a spectacle than a present itself.
Halfway through the film, we stop seeing Hancock as a flawed superhero struggling to adjust, and instead see him as the sympathetic figure. Like I mentioned, there had to be a reason Will Smith was willing to “slum” in this role for a little while. The problem is, he could have made this memorable if the script stopped focusing on creating a half-baked history to the character. You see, Hollywood always feels there has to be more to a story than just a good story. This is even more true when they dump a zillion dollars into a holiday blockbuster and feel an overwhelming need to add dumb special effects and idiotic back-stories. The Movie Mind hates to see a wasted opportunity like this in whatcould have been a unique take on the classic genre.
This film just ended up all over the place. It struggled to find a true identity and came off very studio-heavy. We all know Will Smith is the king of the July 4th blockbuster, but I rank this one below all of his others (Men in Black, MIB II, Independence Day, Wild Wild West). If you treat it as a superhero flick, then there are no real bad-guys to make for interesting confrontations. On the flip side, if you treat it as a deep look into a unique character, there are too many cartoonish effects and cheesy plotlines to take it seriously. Hancock attempted to give us both sides of the coin, but ended up failing in both. While the formula may be Will Smith + July 4th = Blockbuster…it does not necessarily equate to a good film.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Michael Mann (Writer/Director/Producer of many high-strung action hits such as Ali, Heat, and Miami Vice) as a random business executive listening to Jason Bateman’s interesting sales pitch.
Rail Crossing Crowd #2: Your breath smells like alcohol!
Hancock: That’s cause I’ve been drinking bitch!
Hancock: Call me an asshole one more time.
Pissed Fat Guy: You know? Somebody should sue you!
Hancock: You know what? You should sue McDonalds, cuz they f*cked you up!
Hancock: Good job.
Hancock: Life here can be difficult for me. I am the only one of my kind.
Hancock: Aah the whole turn the other cheek thing huh? Just never turn this cheek. Don’t let them punk you.
Hancock: Well what you gotta do is take your foot and jam it real hard into his piss pump. And do it real good, so for the next week he can’t use it for anything other than a flap to keep the dust out of his ass crack.
Hancock: Do I have permission to touch your body?
Female Cop: Yes!
Hancock: Alright…this is not sexual. Not that you’re not an attractive woman. You’re actually a very attractive woman-
Female Cop: Get me the hell out of here!
Hancock: I gotta wonder what a bastard I have been. That nobody was there to claim me. I mean I am not the most charming guy on the world so I’ve been told… but… nobody?