John went to see Hancock and has some very specific opinions and thoughts about the film. Check out his review after the jump.
Hancock: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron. Directed by Peter Berg.
SYNOPSIS: LA is in an uproar. The streets are in chaos, and the only one who can stop it… is the one who’s causing it! Meet Hancock (Will Smith). He’s a superhero. Though he has it in him to be great, he instead chooses to be apathetic, reckless, and worst of all inebriated. The people are at their wit’s end with Hancock. In comes Ray (Jason Bateman “Arrested Development”), a down-on-his-luck PR specialist who winds up being one the few who sees Hancock’s potential and decides to aid him in improving his image. Which is not met with much enthusiasm from Ray’s wife (Charlize Theron), who seems eager to distance herself from Hancock.
ANALYSIS: In another summer jam-packed with superheroes, “Hancock” fits perfectly. Like every big superhero flick, the effects are polished, the action is a gas, and the cast is on fire. Will Smith is an actor that has absolutely no problem integrating himself into whatever genre he seeks. Since the year 2000, we’ve seen him expand his range through a variety of roles. Watch him in films like “Ali” or “The Pursuit of Happyness” and then tell me that he isn’t versatile. So, with all that in mind, a superhero seems like the next ideal part. Add that to him playing a disaffected, boozehound superhero, and that immediately sets the character apart from every other superhero, and Smith plays it all the way with remarkable ease. Strangely, Smith may be the star of the film but it’s Jason Bateman who winds up being the heart and soul of the film. His character sees and understands that in this day and age, we need heroes. Bateman’s character sees that potential in Hancock. Seeing that there is actually someone out there who has faith in him, Hancock actually makes an effort to better himself.
All of this occurs in the first half of the movie. Unfortunately, that is the movie’s failing. The movie sets up what you think is going to be story about redemption and ends up getting wrapped up all too soon, and too neatly. Then, out of the blue, the movie veers off into a completely opposing B story involving Theron’s character. I’ll avoid spoilers, but I will say that after this revelation occurs, the movie is immediately knocked off balance and loses focus on what the initial story set out to do. After the movie finishes, you get the impression that the screenwriter(s) had a great idea for a debut movie and its sequel revolving around Hancock. In the first movie they would stick to the whole redemption story and end it on a cliffhanger. With the sequel they would get into all the details relating to Charlize Theron’s character. It could be reasonable to assume that the “Powers The Be” probably doubted if a franchise was in the cards, and decided to play it safe by muscling the screenwriters into combining the stories into one movie. The final effect, of course, turns “Hancock” into a sort of schizophrenic ordeal where the tone of the film does a complete about-face at the wrong time.
Now, that isn’t to say that the film is unwatchable. It’s watchable, but frankly speaking, two very focused films would have been preferable to the one we ended up with. It’s a shame too. Will Smith needed another franchise to latch onto after the “Men In Black” franchise fizzled out.
FINAL GRADE C+