Hancock

I’ve just pushed everything back on my list of films to review to post my thoughts on superhero-flick-with-a-difference, “Hancock”. Why? Well, let’s just say I have a few issues with it…

Hancock (2008)

Development Hell is, appropriately enough, a tough place for films to excape from. Countless directors and writers are brought on to try and bring a supposedly doomed project to the big screen. If and when said project does eventually see the light of day, it’s a huge conglomeration of ideas and concepts from all the different script treatments it recieved. Nothing exemplifies this more than “Hancock”.

Woman: I can smell alcohol on your breath!
Hancock: That’s cause I’ve been drinking bitch!”

Down-and-out superhero Hancock (Will Smith) is despised by the public. When he saves struggling P.R. man Ray’s (Jason Bateman) life, Ray decides to try and turn Hancock’s bad public image around. However, Ray’s wife, Mary (Charlize Theron) doesn’t want Ray to get to involved with the wino superhero. Let’s get this straight. I love the idea of a bad superhero. I’m a bit sick of nobodies getting superpowers and then fighting on the side of all that is good and just. In my humble opinion, most people are jerks and if they were bestowed with superhuman abilities the only thing that would change is that they would become super-powered jerks. Hancock is just that, a super-powered jerk.

I think the main problem with this is the casting of Will Smith. Whoa- now before people start spamming my inbox with e-mails of defence about the World’s Most Likeable Actor™, let me qualify that statement. I really like Will Smith, but when he is cast in a film these days, it means one of two things. One, it’s a serious, possible award-baiting film or two, it’s a family friendly flick which will rake in millions. “Hancock” shouldn’t be either, but it plays out like a mix between the two. Will Smith is so damn bankable that films are changed around him. “Hancock” should be an edgier film. To be fair, there are remnants of some dark humour here- but not nearly enough for my liking.

The film started promisingly. Drunken flying and collateral damage were all present and I was on board. However, something happens halfway through (although I probably shouldn’t tiptoe around it since it’s on the fucking U.S. DVD cover ) and the film falls apart. It gets too hung up on trying to add drama to a ridiculous story to actually have fun with the whole “Hancock going straight” thing. I felt a bit betrayed as the trailer made me expect a decent, consistent superhero comedy rather than a patchy, occasionally funny film with an overly soap-opera dramatic third act.

“(To an overweight man) Okay. Well, you should sue McDonald’s, ’cause they fucked you up.”

There is a lot to like about “Hancock”. Will Smith is as good as ever and a Jason Bateman appearance is always welcome in my book. It’s got some funny jokes and the like, but I think it could have been so much more with a different lead actor and the cajones to stick with some of the more adult elements some of the original scripts promised.

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