Starring: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron
Director: Peter Berg
Running Time: 92 mins
Hancock is an American film about an unpopular and reckless local LA superhero who finds help in the form of a PR agent who aims to get his public image as a force for good back on track.
It’s always good to see Hollywood trying something different, especially with a genre as often formulaic as the superhero movie, but Hancock doesn’t really manage to pull it off so well. With a muddled and less-than-engrossing original story, coupled with a series of uninspiring performances, this film unfortunately just misses the mark.
But let’s start on the bright side, by saying that Hancock at least offers up something very different to what we normally see on the big screen. As well as poking fun at the superhero genre, it seriously goes about its unorthodox story about a hero being pretty much hated by all those around him, pushing him to become even more unlikable a character.
And for the majority of the opening act, I was interested to see how this film unfolded. Will Smith’s performance is definitely the best of the film, and even though he doesn’t make the most convincing depressed drunkard of all time, he gives a degree of weight to the idea that Hancock is in serious need of a PR change.
Unfortunately, that’s where the movie really starts to get bogged down. The idea of a superhero undergoing an entire redesign to win favour with the people he saves seems interesting at first, but it’s a lot less unorthodox and original than you’d expect. Following a generally predictable story arc as Hancock gets back on the road to competence, there’s very little in the way of properly interesting character development until the end.
There’s a secondary story that unfolds between Will Smith and Charlize Theron’s characters, but that doesn’t offer much more drama or intrigue, whilst Jason Bateman’s character feels very wooden and forced in, not really adding to the character of Hancock or making himself stand out well within the story.
On the whole, it seems like a bit of a miscalculation from director Peter Berg to stage the story in a slightly more dramatic fashion. I wasn’t expecting something fully engrossing, just a different and entertaining superhero movie. In my book, this film would have worked far better with a bit more of a comedic twist, and that would have lessened the effect of the less-than-inspiring performances and disappointing plot, so that’s why I’m giving Hancock a 6.6 overall.