Hancock (2008)

The superhero genre gets flipped on its head with the release of Will Smith's new blockbuster Hancock. It is widely known that putting Will Smith in a lead role leads to box office gold, and with Hancock that trend continued as it grossed an estimated $63 million dollars in its opening weekend. But did this movie really deserve that business? After last years mediocre box office hit I Am Legend, I started to feel that maybe studios realized they don't need to make the movie good, just as long as Will Smith was headlining. I'm afraid the situation is the same with Hancock. The intriguing storyline follows Hancock (Will Smith), a booze-soaked superhero that has become a nuisance in the public eye. Every effort he makes to help fight crime ultimately leads to even more disaster. But Hancock's luck begins to change when he saves Public Relations representative Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) from being hit by a train. Although the community isn't happy about the destroyed train, the grateful Embrey invites Hancock to his house to discuss a proposition. Embrey wants to help Hancock become a beloved figure because that's what heroes deserve. Much to Ray's wife Mary's (Charlize Theron) chagrin, Hancock agrees to work to better his image. Using a mix of dark comedy and drama, Hancock sounds great on paper, but the transfer onto the screen is far from impressive.

There are a laundry list of problems that plagued this movie, but the number one reason Hancock suffers is the direction of Peter Berg. It is possible that Hancock could have succeeded as a straight up comedic superhero film that didn't take itself too seriously, but a heavy reliance on drama gave this movie the kiss of death. With such a clever and amusing plot, it is simply nonsensical to focus mainly on the serious aspects of the script. Berg seemed to realize this a little bit, as he did try to sprinkle as much comedy into the film as possible, but the execution was weak and altogether shoddy. It felt like when he was planning it he said, "OK we will have 5 minutes of comedy, then we'll do 15 minutes of serious, and then another 5 minutes of comedy, and then maybe 10 minutes of serious comedy, and then 5 minutes of just serious...." It did not feel authentic is the point I am trying to reach. Boring cinematography paired with cartoonish special effects turn Hancock into not only a visually unappealing film, but a dull film. A summer movie-goer will not be pleased with the scenes of destruction, as the film (despite Hancock's unruly nature) was very tame as far as action goes. Peter Berg messed up big time. (An even bigger mistake than agreeing to star in Corky Romano. God that movie sucked.)

As always Will Smith puts forth a major league effort to make the movie the best that he could. That is something that I have no problem crediting him with. Every film I have seen him in he gives it his all, which is more than I can say for many actors. The problem is, pretty much exactly what I said in my I Am Legend review, Will Smith is a GOOD actor but he is not a GREAT actor. He cannot carry a film on his shoulders without some support. Some may contest that The Pursuit of Happyness negates my opinion, but I have not seen that movie so my opinion stands. I am yet to see a film that Will Smith single-handedly overhauls, and that includes Hancock. Despite his huge effort, Smith's performance is really only enjoyable for the first half of the film. I was entertained as Hancock lackadaisically trudged around being an irritable, unfriendly character. It was when he became a reformed, traditional superhero that I began to lose interest. On top of this, Smith does not get the support he needs from the cast around him. Jason Bateman is always fun to watch, and I did like him in this picture. But there wasn't enough done by him to make the film itself better. The same goes for Charlize Theron, whose character of Mary was just boring. And much to my dismay, Mary becomes an important piece of the films plot. Performances: strike two for this movie.

It was probably difficult work coming up with a completely new superhero to base a movie off of. You can tell the writers had trouble making Hancock unique because his powers are flight, strength, and invincibility. Basically, he's a second rate superman. Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan are the men responsible for this screenplay, and they came very close to making it great. But with the inclusion of a twist that is downright silly and unsatisfying, Hancock's story takes an ugly turn as it tries to be intelligent and creative. Perhaps Peter Berg doesn't deserve the brunt of the blame, and the writers should be chastised for the missteps of Hancock. After a promising start, the story debilitates into incoherence and leaves us with below average fight sequences and an ending that is far too abrupt to be stimulating.

Running at a mere 92 minutes, Hancock does us some good by not dragging out its existence. Any longer, and this movie would be receiving an even lower rating from me. There is a line in one of the commercials for this film where Hancock says "Does it look like I care about what people think?" I think that was filmed accidentally, and it was just Will Smith talking to somebody on the set. Someone told him "You know Will, this movie isn't very good. People are probably going to think you lost your touch", and then he responded with "Does it look like I care what people think? They'll pay to see me and that's all that matters." Only the camera cut before he could include that second statement. I'm kidding of course. I have nothing but respect for Will Smith. I just found it ironic that his character says that line, while critics everywhere are bashing this film. OK it was a stupid joke, let's move on. Hancock is a good idea that is marred by bad direction, performances, and plot development. The only thing saving Hancock from a rating of 2 is an entertaining first act. My rating (4/10)


  1. lol
    you went of on a tagent for a while and i thought it was cute. =]

    and this movie had too much serious blood and gore. *shudders and needles*

  2. when the writers got to the end of the movie, one said,"oh shit we dont have a villain" the other replied "its ok we'll just throw in that crappy guy we used before"

    and i liked when jason bateman went hardcore


Movies given a 10/10

  • Milk
  • In Bruges
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No Country For Old Men
  • The Shining
  • A Clockwork Orange