Movie Review: Hancock (2008)

Hancock  (2008) is a film about an unlikely superhero who is in a desperate need of positive PR. He fights crime but in a manner that is inconsiderate, careless and quite costly. He is the most hated man in Los Angeles struggling from alcoholism and anger-management issues. More so, he is going through an existential crisis and personal struggles, yet he has superpowers and the potential to be a superhero.

The movie, directed by Peter Berg (Collateral, Patriots Day), gives a fresh perspective on the superpowers and heroes. It is a quality production, created by very talented people. Acting was strong and you would expect nothing less from Will Smith and Charlize Theron (Mary). Charlize, especially, is one of my favourite actresses and she has a proven track record of stealing the spotlight even as an actress in a supporting role. She really comes to life and demonstrates her acting ability in the second half of the movie. Jason Bateman, as Ray, was the main link connecting Hancock and Mary and he delivered a potent (and likeable) performance.

I was entertained by the idea represented in the movie and found it amusing. I do, however, noticed that the first half was more enjoyable than the second. Also, the movie is short and has only 3 substantial characters, it lacks greater purpose and strong(er) plot twists and definitely needed better CGI editing. Though, it does have a good opening and its end symbolises hope and I really liked the introduction to Hancock.

In addition, the movie lacked a serious conflict because there was no greater purpose to Hancock’s story, for example an arch nemesis or a great villain threatening the destruction of the world etc. (the classic plot of superhero movies). However, maybe this was the intention – Hancock is not a typical hero, therefore, should not be awarded a typical hero’s storyline. However, the villain he gets is unconvincing, unfeasible and quite poorly executed, further worsened by the fact that he was introduced very late in the story.

I do not have strong criticisms about this film except that I did not like the plot twist in the story and how it was introduced. However, I watched it with no expectations and I found it entertaining. It has flaws, but most, if not all, films are guilty of that. It has some drama elements, plenty of action and is genuinely fun. I have read that Hancock has received a lot of criticism when it came out, but I believe that expectations ruin films. For what it is, Hancock is a good movie.

Not to SPOIL(ER) anything, but why would the authorities agree to put Hancock in the public prison with other inmates? Should he not be locked up in some top secret, top level, underground prison, while being constantly drugged and incapacitated by some of the most sophisticated and advanced means? I also did not really understand his relationship to his wife. She explained to him how their immortality fades when they are close (together), yet they spent centuries living together and haven’t died or aged. Hancock’s scars also are confusing, they prove that his body was vulnerable to damage, yet he has survived centuries, mortality and all the threats.

Overall, the idea was great, its presentation perhaps is a bit underwhelming but the movie was entertaining nonetheless. The charisma and the skill of the 3 main actors supports the idea to give a nice and fun film. It is not a masterpiece or something special, but it is worth spending 1h 30m.

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