Hancock (2008)

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Published on: 2008.07.04

Just to be clear, I usually like Superhero movies. I enjoyed Superman as a child, and I enjoyed Batman Begins a few years ago. Probably the only superhero movies I didn’t like were the Batman movies from the late ’80s and early ’90s.

To me, Hancock is right up there with the best of them. For one thing, it wasn’t all “comic-booky,” which I hate. At least one director got the message. For all the others, I’ll pass it along: “If we want comic books, we’ll buy comic books. At the theater, we’re expecting to see a movie.”

Peter Berg got that message, and for the most park, Hancock resembles an action movie more than a flimsy comic book.

Here’s the gist of it, without giving away too many surprises. Will Smith plays John Hancock, a being gifted with superpowers, though he doesn’t know why (he does find out later). He can fly, he has super-human strength, bullets bounce off of him, and he can’t be hurt.

He believes he’s the only one of his kind, and so he’s incredibly lonely. He doesn’t have great social skills, and when he does “save the day,” he usually causes quite a bit of collateral damage, which gives rise to constant complaints.

The town of Los Angeles, where he lives, doesn’t appreciate him, although the crime rate is kept low, since criminals fear his intervention.

The story’s course changes when Hancock meets Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a kind and thoughtful public relations specialist. Embrey tries to help Hancock become a better person and at the same time, improve his public image.

There are a few surprises in the story, which I won’t give away here. But the biggest surprise for me is that the movie is better than I expected it to be. It’s superbly filmed, expertly acted by the main characters, especially Smith, Bateman, and Charlize Theron, who plays a larger role as the story progresses.

Reviews for the film have been mixed, but I’m becoming increasingly convinced that movie critics are more interested in their own rhetoric and less interested in enjoying movies. Seems the only movies getting good reviews these days are the incredibly bizarre, foreign, or incredibly boring (many times all three).

Hancock is good, old-fashioned fun, with a few new twists thrown in.

Like always, Will Smith delivers for the July 4 box office.

IMDb: Hancock
Wikipedia: Hancock
Rating: PG-13
(intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language)
Length: 92 min (1:32)
Director: Peter Berg
Genre: Action / Comedy / Drama / Fantasy
My Rating: 8 of 10
Family Friendly: Right off the bat, there are dozens of usages of the word that rhymes with “mass hole” and there is one F-word usage in the movie. There’s no sex and no nudity. A lot of violence, but very little actual “gore.”
Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head, Eddie Marsan

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