Hancock - Movie Review


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Hancock as a hero is troubling. He's an amnesiac, has no family, he is invulnerable to bullets, he's frequently inebriated, he's black. Let's face it, if his role wasn't played by Will Smith I'm fairly certain it would be considered both racist and unlikable. In fact, I can't really think of any positive character trait I cannot directly attribute to Will Smith rather than the character himself. Perhaps that's not a terrible thing, maybe it's just a testament to Will Smith's charm, but then again, that would mean I'm not really reviewing a movie. Just Will Smith as a person.

The film Hancock begins with a clever premise, led up to by standard superhero action filler. Hancock is a hero who neglects to take into consideration what every audience viewer scoffs at, the utter destruction left behind by superheroes in the proccess of saving a few select individuals.

Although we might like it when the Hulk goes "Smash," we should probably question his method of saving lives when he deflects military rockets into buildings, flattens cars, and sets laboratories aflame.

Hancock is given a helping hand from an unexpected source, a publicist who claims he can give Hancock a shift of image in the public eye.

This alone would make for a clever movie, especially if the two characters were at two ends of a spectrum. On one side would be the common business man, on the other would be the immortal man who could fly. There's a lot of issues the two could go head to head on without even realizing it. The combination would be satirical, clever, original, funny, and intriguing. However, when the two do meet, the characters reveal themselves to both be dry and uninteresting.

The film is quite simply messy. The pacing is unbalanced. The character development is off-centered, often placing emphasis on individuals before they are even properly introduced. The plot developments are forced and foreseeable.

None of this means that Hancock is a bad movie. That's not true in the least.
Hancock is several good movies squeezed together, with several of the most introspective moments edited down. Hancock would make for a great television series, maybe even book. The problem here is that the film can't focus on what would be most interesting to focus on.

Is Hancock's immortality the most fascinating aspect about him? Or is his history? Is his relationship with other characters worth seeing through? Or is it his introspection and development more important? The film frequently tries to make up for all of these questions by throwing in new plot developments, which had they only been thrown in earlier, could have really developed into something ingenious.

What Hancock amounts to is an entertaining movie for a Saturday afternoon when there's nothing better to do and you just want to sit down. That's not a bad thing, and the fact that Hancock attempts to do anything different whatsoever is a credit to it's character in and of itself. I respect that, and I enjoy that.

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