Superhero films have always been hit or miss if they bring a different premise. They’re either revolutionary blockbusters like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy or misfires like Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Hancock is among such examples of superhero films, where the attempt isn’t to fit into the general superhero film premise but to offer something more grayish.
It is, however, one of those superhero films that are very unique on paper and in idea alone but are brought down by an unoriginal and repetitive execution on the screen. It’s understandable that it had to be well-thought since the story was originally written in 1996, but with all the creative changes it went through, some complications may have risen in terms of its envisioning, to say the least. It’s a film very few remember, besides regarding the fact that it’s a superhero film starring Will Smith. The content, however, is forgotten.
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The Movie Review
Hancock surrounds a flawed superhero, who causes a good deal of destruction during any mission. He saves very few individuals but manages to destroy millions worth of property. He’s someone trying his best but isn’t the most competent hero out there. And it’s not just his incompetence at the job itself, he’s generally drunk, and is easily offended.
Things change for Hancock after he rescues the public relations specialist Ray Embrey who begins to see him very differently from how he’s perceived by everyone else. He seeks to help Hancock gain a positive reputation with a ballsy suggestion that may change everything for him.
Hancock, as advised by Ray, publicly apologizes to the people of Los Angeles, and turns himself in for imprisonment. Things don’t change much, as Hancock decides to get into trouble with prison inmates. His notoriety continues to grow, and Ray visits him to advise more calmness. Hancock’s ex-wife Mary is also among his frequent visitors.
Hancock is one of the most interesting superhero characters ever brought to screen, but that’s mostly the idea alone because the film doesn’t seem to make the best out of all the complexity that this character possesses. The second half also greatly defeats the complex premise of the story. The hero, despite his flaws, is immortal, and for a con, also suffers from amnesia, which is revealed by him during a conversation with Mary and Ray.
In return, the two reveal sadder truths about his past to him too, which would make you feel great for the character, but with how the dialogue goes, it definitely manages to reduce the emotional effect. Among some of those truths, come some twists that reveal both him and Mary as some legends of the past. And then things escalate to a third act that goes crazy and loses itself from any character complexity that preceded it.
Vy Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan’s script is something that makes Twilight out of this excellent premise, followed by compliance towards age-old superhero film tropes that should have by now come to an end.
The dialogue doesn’t fit the nature of the film, and some improvement could’ve been found with dialogues that dive deeper into the characters’ nature rather than working as a revelation of their identity. Peter Berg’s direction doesn’t make the best out of it, some moments of visual storytelling are here and there, but almost all of them are predictable and lack subtlety. John Powell’s music adds a bit of quality, whereas Tobias A. Schliessler’s cinematography isn’t something to age well. Smith’s performance is appreciable, but with such a weirdly written character, he fails to shine.
Hancock is a film that packs a unique premise, but equally unoriginal ways of executing it. It loses itself into being what it seems to stand against in the first half, and due to the nature of the script, it plays out as quite more laughable than it should’ve been.