Written by Hombre Divertido
It is rare that a film is such a frustrating experience, but this is the case with Hancock.
Will Smith, who can usually be counted on for quality fourth of July weekend films, plays the alcohol-drinking, unenthused superhero, who muddles his way through the capturing of evil-doers, and the obligatory rescuing of the innocent when he feels like it, and even then, with general distain for the public.
Early in the film Hancock rescues and is befriended by public relations whiz Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) who takes on Hancock as a client and project. He attempts to soften Hancock while improving his image. Embrey is successful to an extent, and the antics of Hancock before and after the rescuing of Embrey are reasonably entertaining.
Had writers Vy Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan kept it simple and given us 120 of the before and after of Hancock the reluctant superhero, we would have a quality movie ripe for a sequel. Instead, we are rushed through the establishment of the character and the transition, so that we could get to ridiculous and vague plot transitions, and unnecessary violence all in 92 minutes.
No point in going into the rest of the plot; it’s a mess. It does include Charlize Theron in a somber performance as Ray’s wife Mary.
Director Peter Berg is not off the hook here either. Though the writers are primarily to blame, the directorial choices did not help. The film gets gratuitously violent in the second half, and the choices made in his direction were not only inconsistent, but include a nauseating close-up style reminiscent of the cheesy chase scenes in Point Break.
No blame on Will Smith here. His performance is spot-on, but he appears to be fighting the reins of the writers and directors throughout.
Recommendation: The first 30 to 45 minutes are fun. Head for some Iron Man or Hulk after that.