Thanks for checking out our Hancock review. If you’d like to see a video version of the Hancock review you can see it at the bottom of this post.
Will Smith is one of those actors that has come to grow on me over the years, the main turning point being his amazing performance in Ali a few years back. Since then, I haven’t exactly loved all his movies, but if you’re going to try to be objective about it, Smith always brought exactly what his roles called for. The other factor is that all his movies seem to make crazy amounts of bank regardless of their quality, which makes him one of the last (if not THE last) truly bankable movie stars.
The film originally titled “Tonight He Comes” (for the record I much prefer the name “Hancock”) sounds like a straight comedy when you hear the premise… you’d even be forgiven for still thinking it’s a straight comedy when seeing the first wave of trailers and clips which pretty much painted Hancock as a laugher. Then came word that the film is actually a dark film. So which was true? Well… both actually.
THE GENERAL IDEA
The synopsis for Hancock looks something like this: “John Hancock (Will Smith) is an unhappy and reluctant superhero who is living in his own world. For some unknown reason, Hancock is depressed and has started drinking very heavily. He has saved many lives in Los Angles over the years, but in doing so, he has no regards for damaging buildings, trains, roads, cars, or anything that gets in his way to get the job done. The last time he captured several criminals, it cost the city $9 million to fix the damages. The public has had enough of Hancock, and they want him to stop or go to another city. Then one day, Hancock saves the life of Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman). Ray is a Public Relations executive who now can go home to his wife and child, because Hancock was there. Ray owes Hancock his life, and he makes it his mission to change his superhero’s image and have the public cheering him.”
Hancock is not your stereotypical superhero film. As a matter of fact, you could make the argument that the movie is more of a character study surrounding Hancock and his predicament. A man without memory of who he actually is with serious issues he needs to deal with. Yeah it sounds a bit cheesy, but you know what… it works. I really enjoyed how they executed this whole premise.
Will Smith once again brings exactly the performance that his particular character needed… and believe me… getting told “you’re playing a man with superpowers who drinks too much, has major attitude and personal problems who is forced to confront them in a movie that isn’t a spoof but isn’t too serious either” would be a description that could cause a lot of actors to drink, but honestly… Smith found the zone where Hancock lives and portrayed it perfectly.
Although this is not a comedy movie… there are honestly good laughs sprinkled throughout the length of the movie… the best ones weren’t even given away in the trailers.
Has Jason Bateman ever done a bad job?
To me, the single biggest weakness in Hancock is the absolute lack of any adversary. Yes, I understand that Hancock is more of a character movie than a superhero one, and as such the antagonist is Hancock’s personal issues… but whether it likes it or not, Hancock IS still at least in part a superhero movie, and that being the case you need at least some semblance of an adversary. No, it doesn’t need to be a “super villain”… but all the movie gives is is random smatterings of various thugs and hoods. A couple of which get together later (after each getting their asses handed to them by the super powered Hancock) and decide to go after Hancock. This made ZERO sense to me since they already know Hancock is invulnerable and bulletproof… yet they decide to go after him with some guns… I’m sorry but even stupid criminals are smarter than that.
The second half of the film takes a downward turn in terms of momentum once a minor twist is revealed that (even after an explanation is offered) seemed a bit weak and coincidental which then dominates the remainder of the story. Now, unlike a lot of movie critics out there… the second half of the film didn’t bother too much, but it is clearly the weaker part of the movie no doubt.
Since Hancock doesn’t really have an adversary in the film that can fight him… the action is boring. I know what you’re thinking: “But John, you said this was a character study more than an action film” and that’s true… BUT… they have a lot of action scenes without any action. You can only get a kick out of seeing Smith beat up non-superpowered guys with one hand behind his back so many times. If you’re going to have action sequences… then put in some… you know… action.
Hancock is getting worked over pretty good by the critics right now (last time I checked it only had a 35% on Rotten Tomatoes) but I’ve got to tell ya… while I didn’t “love” Hancock, I’m really not sure what their beef with the flick is. For me, it delivers on what it suggests it will, the story was a good one, some decent laughs and a strong lead performance by Smith make this a watchable film despite the shortcomings I mentioned above. Overall I give Hancock a 6.5 out of 10
YOU CAN SEE THE VIDEO VERSION OF THE HANCOCK REVIEW BELOW