Movie Review: Hancock

Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman
Directed by: Peter Berg
Written by: Vincent Ngo & Vince Gilligan
Columbia Pictures, 2008
PG-13; 92 minutes
2.5 stars (out of 5)


This movie has the distinction of being the first movie I've seen this year. Too bad that's about the only thing distinctive about it.

Without giving too much away, let's just say Hancock attempts a plot twist that turns the third act in a completely different direction. It's almost as if someone tried to sew together two movies, meaning the final outcome was not entirely successful. As my husband put it after we'd viewed it, "I think I would have liked a plain Will-Smith-as-a-superhero movie way better."

Instead, Hancock attempts to be very dramatic about its character. He's got "issues." Well, don't all superheros? One problem is that the viewer doesn't discover some key information about Hancock's past until far into the movie. He doesn't age? Whaaa? Look, either this matters enough to make it clear from the start, or it doesn't matter at all. But in order to do their little twist, the writers stuck this in like shoving a loose page in a neatly stacked ream. Is this supposed to make me suddenly understand Hancock better? I would've liked to been able to do that much sooner--if you wanted me to, if it was important for me to as a viewer.

The end result is that nothing in Hancock gets as fully explored as it should have or could have. His confrontations with bad guys is perfunctory, as are the villains themselves; not one of the baddies sparks any real interest, they are clearly nothing more than cogs in the plot, even in the big "showdown." At best, they offer comic relief, when really, that might better have been left to Will Smith himself.

The best that can be said is that Hancock does leave things in a better state than it found them, which is to say that there is potential for a sequel that might actually be entertaining.

1 comment:

Kalligenia said...

I felt the same about the film. I really liked the first half and the second half I disliked. It could have been really good if they didn't go in that direction. There were bad guys in the movie? Oh, yeah, I guess there were. Shows how much they stood out in my mind.