If Hancock had a brother, he would be Clark Kent. Okay, different dads or something, but still, there are too many similarities not to draw the comparisons. They could compete in challenges of strength, flight, etc., make up stories about where they really came from, reminisce about their memories of breaking needles in hospitals, Clark could pick Hancock up from the bar when he is too drunk to fly home… You get the gist.
As easy as it is to compare Hancock to any other superhero story, it does explore some areas that others have not, at least not as closely. This film is about John Hancock (Will Smith), a drunk superpowered being who does things for the good of humanity because he can, but he doesn’t really believe in the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra with the fervor that Spider-man does. However, when he meets Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), he agrees to do what he must to clean up his image, and eventually steps into the role people hoped he would fill in society.
Though this may not seem like anything too original, usually it is the villains that want the heroes to pay for their actions, not the common people. And Hancock has done a lot in his reckless attempts to do better, whether it is tossing a whale back into the ocean, or destroying buildings, street signs, cop cars, etc., that he must pay for. However, it is actually Bateman’s performance as Hancock’s cheering section that should win the viewer over. It is the comedic treatment of his unwavering faith in Hancock that becomes a foil in his aloof attitude, which could have become too irritating without Bateman’s performance to play off of.
On the whole Hancock is a fun film if not taken too seriously, however, the story should have been worked over at least once more. There were a lot of plot points that seemed a little too convenient, even with the “it’s a movie” excuse. Furthermore, a lot of the story points are not fully explained, creating a lot of gaps that the viewer must fill in, even if there is still a lot of room for questioning. One key example of this is Hancock’s origin story, but unfortunately that can’t be explored here without ruining a major twist in the story.
Hancock explores the world of a reluctant hero, but unfortunately for the viewer there are just as many gaps in the story lines as there are in Hancock’s memory, especially considering how much time he must spend drunk. However, for all it is lacking, it is still an entertaining film with a great cast, comedic dialogue and actions, and visual effects.
Final Grade: B-