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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.61%
Worth A Look32.58%
Just Average: 19.1%
Pretty Crappy: 28.09%
Sucks: 5.62%

7 reviews, 47 user ratings

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by Mel Valentin

"The best superhero flick since....well, since Iron Man."
4 stars

Less than nine months after Will Smith saved the world from a mutated virus (or rather a character he played saved the world), actor Will Smith is back in "Hancock," this time playing a dissolute, destitute, bad-tempered superhero, John Hancock. Directed by Peter Berg ("The Kingdom," "Friday Night Lights," "The Rundown," "Very Bad Things") and written by Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan, "Hancock" resembles a certain spandex-loving superhero who first made an appearance seventy years ago, Superman, with a backstory inspired by Jack Kirby’s work for DC and Marvel Comics in the 1970s (saying more would involve spoilers, unfortunately). An often awkward mix of broad comedy, straight drama, and superhero action, "Hancock" is definitely flawed, but it benefits from a continuity-free storyline, engaging turns from a talented cast (no surprise there), and the presence of thematic depth (definitely a surprise).

When we first meet Hancock, he’s sleeping off last night’s alcohol on a park bench, oblivious to the disapproval of passersby. After being awakened to a car chase involving the police and an Asian gang equipped with machine guns, Hancock flies to aid the police, but not before destroying massive amounts of public and private property. Booed by a gathering crowd, Hancock escapes to a rundown bar. Later, he saves idealistic public relations executive, Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), from an oncoming train, again causing massive amounts of damage. Ray invites Hancock home for dinner, ostensibly to repay Hancock for saving his life (if not his car).

Ray sees redeeming Hancock in the eyes of the general public as a means toward an end: getting corporations onboard with a worldwide giving campaign. While Ray’s son, Aaron (Jae Head), is happy to have a superhero around the house, Ray’s wife and Aaron’s stepmother, Mary (Charlize Theron), doesn’t seem so pleased. Ray convinces Hancock that the public will change how they see him if he disappears for a short time. Ray does more, though. He convinces Hancock to turn himself in to the authorities and serve some jail time for all the damage he’s done. If the plan works, the public will receive Hancock with open arms. If it doesn’t, Hancock can simply fly away (since he’s in jail by his own volition).

Although Hancock seems to be riding the wave of superhero/comic book adaptations, Vincent Ngo originally wrote his screenplay twelve years ago as an “original” work (i.e., not based directly on characters from the DC or Marvel Comics’ universes). With a later assist from Vincent Gilligan (best known for his contributions as a writer for The X-Files), Ngo didn’t stray far from superhero archetypes, specifically Superman, giving Hancock invulnerability, super-strength, and flying (he can go supersonic). Hancock doesn’t have x-ray vision and he can’t shoot red laser beams from his eyes, but he does have a Kryptonite-like weakness (what that is, however, is best left for moviegoers to discover). Since Hancock starts in media res, Ngo and Gilligan leave Hancock’s origins unclear and when they do offer an explanation, it remains incomplete.

That’s all good if you’re a superhero/comic book fan, but what about everyone else? Well, if you’re a Will Smith fan, there’s not much to dislike here. His pre-makeover superhero is rude, crude, and vulgar. He’s also desperately lost, making him unsympathetic, but not unredeemable. Where Hancock runs into trouble, though, is in the tonal shift from broad comedy to serious drama (with superhero-flavored action, of course). Once Hancock goes into recovery mode, the comedy in Hancock goes into hibernation (minus the occasional injection of situational humor). Besides the tonal shift, some moviegoers won’t buy into the second act revelation or the lack of a villain or supervillain on Hancock’s level. Then too, the visual effects leave something to be desired. They range from near excellent to dodgy, often in the same scene.

Still, besides the cast and the premise, "Hancock" has a surprising amount of depth, both in how it develops the central character and the world he lives in (much like our own) and, again, not to give away spoilers, in the major revelation that plays out like a plea for tolerance, racial and otherwise. That might not be what moviegoers are looking forward to seeing this busy summer season, but if they give "Hancock" a chance (and Will Smith’s name above the marquee practically guarantees that), they’ll find themselves sitting through one of the better takes on superheroes since…well, since "Iron Man" came out in early May.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17095&reviewer=402
originally posted: 07/02/08 00:15:42
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User Comments

3/24/18 morris campbell pretty good imho 4 stars
6/02/12 Phineas Hollywood using the super hero genre to promote anti-White miscegenation 1 stars
2/26/11 Monday Morning Hey Eric C., for such a bad movie you sure wasted a lot of your life criticizing it. 3 stars
5/22/10 gc An authentic, original super hero movie, needed a better villan though 4 stars
10/25/09 Crazy27 It's getting louder with each and every smidgen of quantitative easing, bailout, and fiscal 2 stars
10/25/09 Kelvin81 We are happy to resend any missing acknowledgement file when requested to do so. , <a hre 3 stars
10/25/09 Pol64 A paradox of the current media moment is that, while journalism jobs are disappearing, j-sc 5 stars
10/24/09 Merlin73 Now that marriage is briefly legal in California, people have been asking me and Tim if we 5 stars
10/23/09 Boy15 Take breaks to talk to workmates or friends. , 2 stars
10/22/09 Gangster47 I will be planting my own on that lot. , 3 stars
7/14/09 scotty i thought it was brilliant 5 stars
6/22/09 Micigan Cornut The worst movie ever made. 1 stars
5/27/09 mr.mike Credit for the different approach but nearly derails halfway through. 3 stars
5/03/09 Heap Agreed with others that first-half is semi-interesting but much dross in the 2nd half 2 stars
12/20/08 Tony Breaks from superhero tradition and earns laughs from a great cast. 5 stars
12/05/08 Luisa Very entertaining, funny. Cool superhero story, different from the others, in a good way. 4 stars
11/27/08 Yvette My son bought it and I watched it. I thought it was kinda good. I would watch it again. 5 stars
11/22/08 Jon G Very Good until the twist, which was extremely gimmicky 4 stars
11/20/08 Shaun Wallner Laughed my ass off! 5 stars
9/27/08 Samantha Pruitt cool idea, weird twist, Will Smith is great! 3 stars
8/27/08 damalc didn't expect to like it. creators didn't treat it like a kids' film. 4 stars
7/19/08 Jayson A July 4 Will Smith flick I finally loved. 4 stars
7/17/08 David Gregg Finally! A good review! I'm Glad someone appreciated the movie for it's unpredictability. 4 stars
7/14/08 mike I enjoyed this movie and had some really funny parts. 4 stars
7/14/08 Karen Loved this movie! Great special effects! 5 stars
7/13/08 John Hernholm I hate to admitt it but i really enjoyed this movie. I know, it suprised me too... 4 stars
7/13/08 George Barksdale A Superman in civilian clothes, blah 2 stars
7/13/08 anyanwu Delightful & surprising popcorn superhero movie with a bit of maturity and transformation 4 stars
7/12/08 Koitus I was pleasantly surprised; 1st time I think I disagree with B-Slap's reviewers' consensus. 4 stars
7/12/08 Darkstar It's not Ironman, but it's not fantastic 4 either. ok action movie. 3 stars
7/12/08 Reini Urban The real surprise here is Charlize Theron. Excellent acting of all. 3 stars
7/12/08 grafdog I agree with this reviewer its risk pay off and it was ACME novelty library'esque in parts. 4 stars
7/10/08 roscoe19998 YOU have to be kidding me!!!! No real villain and the plot (or lack thereof) is retarded 2 stars
7/08/08 Uncle Salty Horse Shit 1 stars
7/07/08 Invader Zim The film is a good look at what becomes of a hero who's given up on life. Worth while. 4 stars
7/07/08 mary m This was a different kind of superhero movie. I liked it' 4 stars
7/07/08 John Don't expect Shakespeare and you'll get a pretty fun movie out of it. 4 stars
7/07/08 Ken If by "misrepresented" it, you mean it didn't give away half of the plot twists, then yes. 4 stars
7/07/08 steve I thought it was refreshing take on the superhero genre. Fun though not brilliant 4 stars
7/07/08 BNorm It's too bad another corny "true love" plot line ruined an otherwise decent film 3 stars
7/06/08 Crispin Meh. Could have been much better. The trailer misrepresented it. 3 stars
7/05/08 Quigley Too confused and sloppily assembled. Smith is great as always but don't even bother with it 3 stars
7/05/08 Jiz This is what you'd get if you took 3 half-finished superhero movie scripts and stapled them 2 stars
7/04/08 Anthony Feor Sure it is visually astound and has good action, but I am tired of one dimentional actors. 3 stars
7/02/08 Keystra Williams Piece of shit 1 stars
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  02-Jul-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 25-Nov-2008


  DVD: 25-Nov-2008

[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Peter Berg

Written by
  Vincent Ngo
  Vince Gilligan

  Will Smith
  Charlize Theron
  Jason Bateman
  Eddie Marsan

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