I’m going to borrow a quote from a recent masterpiece and apply it to Hancock for a second; “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” and that great quote roughly sums up the track that Hancock rides on. (By the way if you didn’t know where that quote is from you should die a slow and terrible death by bunny teeth.) Hancock starts off amusing, with Will Smith playing the character that I had been seeing in the trailers and chuckling at. He plays a drunken superhero that flies in and causes some of the most destructive heroic deeds to his city since the last superhero movie was filmed there. To push the story along we are introduced to Jason Bateman’s character who is a Public Relations worker who seems to also be trying to sell free medicine to people affected by poverty all around the world and adding a heart symbol to all of the merchandise. After all of the “Top Men” laugh at his idea (I did too) we are supposed to sympathize with him as he drives home and finds himself trapped on railroad tracks with a train coming. Hancock saves him by causing more damage and people begin yelling at him and trying to run him out until Bateman defends him. He then digs deeper by introducing Hancock to his wife played by Charlize Theron and we immediately know something else is going on here by the way she stares at Hancock. Bateman tells Hancock that he wants to help make Hancock more likeable to the people of the city and he reluctantly agrees.
This is where the quote comes in. For those first forty five minutes I sat in my chair entertained. I was laughing at many parts and Will Smith’s drunk antics, and while I didn’t think the movie was great by all means to that point it was what I had been expecting from the trailers so I enjoyed it thoroughly, and then it changed. The movie took another direction completely (and foolishly) and tried to cram a large number of sub plots into only the second half of the film. We are introduced to a quick villain who, despite being on screen for only a total of about ten minutes is supposed to be the main villain of the film, we are introduced to Hancock’s past and how Charlize Theron somehow fits into it all, and we are introduced into a large secret that Theron’s character has kept from everyone. Overall the second half of the movie falters greatly to the point of desperation where the filmmakers obviously began throwing together special effects in an attempt to distract the audience that what they were watching was a bunch or rushed and badly written material.
The actors all do their parts fine with Smith showing no reluctance or staggering to fully immerse himself into this role and his jokes come fast and for the most are quick one liners that usually miss but occasionally garner a laugh. Theron shows nothing truly outstanding and Bateman too (who I have been a fan of since Arrested Development) never really raises the bar or experiments with the character, both actors play it safe in their area and while it isn’t bad, I still wish they would have tried to give more heart into their roles.
Overall Hancock is a fun film with great acting from Smith for the first half of the movie after which it changes courses and heads into a laughable but mostly gag inducing torrent of special effects, poor story telling, and a ridiculous (not in that it’s poorly done, but it’s just stupid) ending. A part of me feels that perhaps if the two halfs had been switched and I left this movie after having just seen what was originally the first forty five minutes of the film I might have a better outlook on it but as it stands now Hancock is only half good so I give it a 2.5/5 and it is not one for your DVD collection.