Cinepub


Something I Finally Saw: Hancock by Jamie
08/12/2008, 6:51 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Imagine a superhero movie within which the hero is an alcoholic cock who is hated by the masses. This is the basic premise of Hancock, a film which I finally got around to seeing. This concept is fairly original to films, not so much to comic books, and it is nice to see a superhero without any prior knowledge of his origin or back-story whatsoever.

Will Smith (of Fresh Prince fame) plays John Hancock, a homeless superhero who reluctantly saves a city that hates him with no real regard for the city itself. He flies whilst drunker than an aging prostitute trying to forget her existence and lands in a way which fucks the street up to shit. He throws cars around, smashing buildings and street signs and just generally does more harm than good. The city tries to prosecute him but how do you stop someone who can’t be stopped? You can’t. See, the answer was in the question. It’s whilst fucking up another rescue, resulting in a few trashed cars and one major fucked up train that Hancock saves Ray, a PR dude played by Jason Bateman, who sees an opportunity to turn Hancock’s public perception around and make him the hero that Ray knows he can be.

Under Ray’s advice, Hancock hands himself over to the police willingly and stays in prison in an effort to get himself off of the booze and let the people of Los Angeles see just how god-awful the city would be without him. The plan works and the chief of police calls Hancock for help when a small group of bandits take hostages and try to rob a bank. Hancock shows up and saves the day. Hooray! The end. Except it isn’t. There then comes a twist which brings the movie to a darker, grittier conclusion than the tone of the rest of the movie seems to imply. I imagine if the film had come out after “The Dark Knight” this theme would have been pervasive right the way through the film.

Now, a lot has been written about the films sudden tonal shift within the last third, mostly about how people didn’t really like it. They felt it didn’t particularly fit in with the rest of the film and to some extent I agree. It didn’t really fit in with the humorous nature of the rest of the film. This didn’t, however, affect my enjoyment of the film. I actually felt that it kind of improved it a little, making it something more than the superhero comedy it would have otherwise been. Need I remind you of My Super Ex-Girlfriend? I know some people liked it but fuck I thought that was shit. Honestly, Hancock was always gonna be better than that so the comparison isn’t particularly apt but I’m writing this not you so fuck off.

Another thing that I really loved about this movie is that Hancock’s origin is never really explained. Whilst they are necessary for the uninitiated, I am pretty fucking sick of fucking origin movies. The worst thing about Iron Man was that most of the damn film was him building different upgraded version of the suit. Well, that and the final battle was pretty lame. Anyway in Hancock, his origin is hinted at, implied but never explained outright. Awesome. The only potential problem is that a sequel has pretty much been confirmed and, now that Hancock has cleaned up his act, the only direction I can see them going in is him trying to discover his mysterious past! Ominous!

The first part of the film is honestly pretty damn funny. Hancock flying through the sky, bottle of whisky in hand with no disregard for public property is a fun sight to be sure and the interactions between Hancock, Ray, his wife (played by Charlize Theron) and Ray’s son are pretty great, especially the scene where Hancock is invited to their spaghetti madness dinner. Charlize Theron in particular is very good at showing her dislike for the drunken hero with the slightest of looks.

For me though, it really is the last part of the film which brings it all together, even though I know others will disagree. There are some heart-warming scenes between Hancock and the son and Will Smith does a great job of portraying a character who is clearly depressed because he’s the only one of his kind, compounded by the fact that he doesn’t know where the hell he came from.

There are some flaws, of course. There is a scene we’ve become all to familiar with in superhero movies wherein the hero takes on a character of equal or slightly heightened power to themselves but it doesn’t really go in the standard direction so it’s forgivable. Also a certain character’s (saying who would give to much away) unwillingness to help Hancock try and understand his past seems really strange considering they want him to leave them alone and he won’t until they try and help him. Confusing!

Overall though, Hancock is a pretty good film and definitely a nice addition to the current crop of recent superhero flicks.

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