Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron
Time: 1.5 hours
Plot: A hard-living alcoholic superhero known as John Hancock (Will Smith) has fallen on hard times with the public. They are ready to run him out of town, but a PR professional (Jason Bateman) wants to help him turn his life around.
Who’s It For? I think I will be hit with a cattle prod if I say anything bad about Smith so without further ado … Will Smith and the Fourth of July are what America great.
Expectations: I love superhero movies. And the idea of entering in the psyche of a reluctant hero sounds like a great idea. Plus, Bateman is hilarious and having Charlize Theron added was an interesting/odd choice.
Will Smith as John Hancock: Completely and totally miscast as the drunk hero. The problem is, everyone loves Smith and rightfully so. But he’s not the anti-hero like Bruce Willis as John McClane. So making him an ass for the first half of the film is just a waste, especially since there is little redemption/transformation.
Jason Bateman as Ray: He wants to change the world … If only he could team up with someone that has the power to do it. Wouldn’t you know it, Hancock saves Ray, and probably kills a few dozen in the process. The two of them together is definitely the highlight of the film, with Bateman’s delivery being the reason. Every time Ray would try to explain to Hancock how to be a hero, the film had a purpose and a reason to smile.
Charlize Theron as Mary: Ouch. She was involved in the big plot twist halfway through the film and it falls flat from that point on. Obviously Theron can act, but this character is a complete waste of time.
One of the repetitive parts of the film was that Hancock doesn’t like to be called asshole. It’s completely borrowed from Back to the Future and Marty McFly not wanted to be called chicken. Unfortunately, borrowing from that film is about as creative as the dialogue gets when Bateman isn’t involved.
Sights & Sounds:
There was nothing special about the effects in Hancock. The entire time Smith and others were flying/fighting it felt like a green screen instead of real life. And the music was beyond bizarre, ranging from “Just a Friend” to the “Sanford and Son” theme song. It’s not that those aren’t great, it just never fit with the film.
Best Scene: When Ray would visit Hancock in the prison, you understood what the film should have been about … an ordinary man teaching a hero how to be super. But the movie stopped that plot half way through and lost all the joy. I actually don’t think there is a joke in the last 45 minutes.
Ending: Forget the ending, what about the plot twist with Mary and Hancock being star-crossed lovers? Also, I really didn’t need the one-month later. Hancock gets a bird for a buddy and moves to New York and that is supposed to make everything OK?
Questions: I would love to count how many times Aaron (Ray’s son) says Hancock while talking to Hancock. It was driving me nuts. Also, why were things getting hot when Mary was around? How far away to Mary and Hancock have to be for their powers to work? If Mary is stronger, why isn’t she a hero? Why did they fight at all? Have they spent their lives being together, but then having to separate for a couple hours? Days? Years? So many questions, which can only mean one thing … It’s not a good story.
Will Smith, Fourth of July, superhero … it all seems to add up to a great combination. But they only made half a film. As soon as Hancock is redeemed in the public’s eye, there is no where for the film to go. Not even Jason Bateman’s comedic genius can save one of the oddest film twists in recent memory. To top it off, Hancock suffers from some of the worst villains in superhero history.
I did think of a new term though, one that I am shocked the film never employed … The term’s meaning is for an average film with a huge marketing budget to come out and just blitz the competition, even if there are high-quality big budget films that people should see instead. So congratulations Wall*E and Wanted, you’ve just been Hancocked.
Score: 4 out of 10