Please allow me to introduce to you, two people.
Now the first person is a man named John Hancock (Will Smith). He’s a drunk. He's a surly type of amnesiac. And he is a super powered individual that is hated by the populace, because of his brash and somewhat dangerous brand of heroics.
Plus the second person is a chap called Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman). He is a well to do chap with a chivalrous nature. He has a family to look after. And he is a struggling PR man who promotes charitable ventures amongst business personal.
OK, so now you know know who the characters are, guess what happens to Hancock and Ray, after Hancock saves Ray from turning into a train platform? Correct - Ray repays Hancock back by giving him something that he sorely needs - good public recognition.
You see, Ray proposes to do this, by getting Hancock to publicly renounce his previous careless actions. And then, when it is shown that the world needs his heroics once more, he will return a much needed man.
Great plan, right? Hmm. Depends on your perspective I suppose.
At first, this scheme seems to backfire on them both, and Hancock is sent to prison due to his prior actions - which he obviously does not really like. However, John’s time inside is a fortuitous one, and he spends it by attending therapy sessions (which he does not commit to), plays basketball (which he is good at) as well as receiving visits by Ray and his family, just to keep up his moral until the time comes when the police need his help, RING-RING!
Finally, once this period of incarnation is over, and the police release Hancock so that he can aide them with a terrorist attack at a municipal building, when he answers this call, he suits up in the ‘superhero’ attire that Ray has given him, and then courteously attends to this request.
And do you know what? Hancock does so well in this escapade, that afterwards, Ray celebrates his accomplishment by having dinner with him and his wife, Mary (Charlize Theron). Moreover, during this meal, both parties talk about their origins – Ray and Mary about their courtship – and John about his immortality, revealing that he just woke up one morning eighty years ago, after receiving a crack on his head, with super-powers that came out of nowhere.
WOW! Surprising story right? Though not as surprising as what Mary tells Hancock later that same day, when they all return home, and Ray is snug in his bed.
She's like him, BANG!
Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right turn up for the books, huh?. As revelations turn to confrontations - powers fade - enemies rise - and what once was heaven sent, is now nowhere to be found.
OK, I have to admit, that when I first heard that they were going to make a film about 'Hancock', I thought to myself “What? Tony Hancock? The English comedian from the 1940’s?”. But then, when I stopped, and reconsidered for a moment or two, I came up with the Americanized definition of ‘Hancock’ instead (i.e. a signature). Thankfully though, as more times passed, I eventually heard that 'Hancock' was going to be about a reluctant superhero who was a bum, and I though to myself... YESSSSS!
You see, quite a few years ago, DC Comics published a comic book series about a slacker hero who was in a similar vein to the one presented in this film, entitled 'Major Bummer' (click here for retrospect). And, in all honesty, I really did like this short lived title. It was punchy. Alternate. Comical. And had an edge to it too, one that I really did like.
Still, did I like Hancock the film as well? Yes - yes I did.
This movie start’s off with the expected pretext - slacker hero finds someone to guide him. Then, it rolls off into the redemption part of the tale - hero gets back on his feet again. Before finally - TA-DAH! HANCOCK IS BACK! But next, which I was not expecting at all, came the plot-twist, POW! One that really came out of the blue I can tell you!
However, aided by my current benefit of hindsight, this twist was bookmarked all the way through the first half of the movie, in a very supple manner. For example, I never saw the lovely Charlize Theron play that many 'wall-flower roles' during this time. Also, her character does act rather oddly towards Hancock at the beginning of the film. Therefore, it was very cleaver of the movie makers to throw these little tit-bits in, because when the revelation is revealed, it is done in a 'Oh! That's why' type of a way. Perfect.
Moreover, another thing that looks very natural within this superhero adventure, are the performances by all the cast members, whom really do inhabit the roles they play. Will is believable as the run down hero. Jason is just sweet as the well to do PR man. And Charlize, as ever, is just lovely to watch.
Heck, even the special effects seem natural - and not overly showy or blatant as some usually are.
Personally speaking, I feel that Handock is a ‘must see’ film for people who like to watch these actors, or superhero fare with a twist. Plus, I am sure that there will be more of this type of film in the future, because it manages to do four things: (1) Tell a personal tale. (2) Tell an alternate hero origin story. (3) Entertain. And (4) Make people think about the divining line between hero and God, which was the original concept behind heroes like the Spectre. Agreed?
Great film, and I am sure more will follow. Kick Ass (click here for review).
THE RATING: A