The charismatic Will Smith stars in Hancock as a superhero called Hancock, and this is actually one of my favourite films of his. People who know me know that I’m more attracted towards superhero movies, but this is not your typical superhero flick. Hancock is not based on any pre-existing material, and the concept of this character is unique although very confusing.
We are introduced to Hancock as a lazy, foul-mouthed, self-centered man who likes to sleep and drink beer all day. He has Superman-like abilities of strength and flight, but doesn’t put them to use until being prompted by a child that’s passing by. Hancock stops crime and saves people’s lives, but ends up destroying a lot of public property, causing a negative reaction out of the general public.
This film can be split into two halves as far as the story is concerned. The first half deals with how Hancock learns to become a likable superhero. With the help of a businessman that wants to use him for advertising, Hancock picks up good manners and (unwillingly) wears a costume. After stopping a major crime, he becomes the role model that his city adores. I liked Hancock’s journey of becoming a ‘real’ superhero, which is a very compelling journey considering how forced other origin stories are in other superhero movies.
The second half of the film has Charlize Theron in a pivotal role. She starts off as just a friend of Hancock, but later on reveals some dark secrets that changes the way Hancock views himself. The back story of Hancock’s powers is revealed and the film starts to become convoluted. Hancock now has to fight other super powered beings and deal with his own emotional problems as well. The film does a good job in letting us discover some new characters as Hancock meets them, which makes the movie experience real and engaging.
Maybe this film would have worked better if it was split into two films, because really, the first half felt like a totally different feature than the second half. I was not totally on board with the explanation of how Hancock’s powers functioned, which I thought was sketchy. Nevertheless, the story of Hancock is compelling and there were some original ideas that I enjoyed.