Will Smith, honestly, I love you. I think that you’re one of the only true entertainers this world has left. You sing, you dance, you act in movies and on television. You produce and a whole lot more in between. What’s more is that you’re dedicated to the perfection of your craft, no matter what the specifics, and maintain a sunny attitude the whole time, never taking for granted the fact that it’s your adoring fans who make you who you are.
All that said, Hancock was not my favorite of your movies. Don’t get me wrong – it was fun and enjoyable, and I had a good time watching it. As everyone has noticed, it’s an amusing principle: an alcoholic superhero with a bad attitude. The action is pretty decent, the acting is good from everyone important (Charlize Theron, Will Smith and Jason Bateman), and the jokes, at least in the beginning, are consistent and funny. But that brings me to one of my problems with the movie: in the middle there is a giant shift of trajectory, mood and tone.
True, the movie could be broadly categorized as Hancock’s search for truth, but it’s really sold as – and continues for half the movie as – his attempts to reform and become the superhero he should be. However, about halfway in, the movie becomes darker, no longer comical, and delves progressively deeper into what seems to be a newly introduced topic that only Charlize Theron’s odd behavior and looks hinted at throughout the second quarter of the film.
Second, as many of you know, I love superhero lore and all of the concepts and explanations surrounding it. Believe it or not, that’s not one of my geekier passions. In any case, the superhero-ness behind Hancock is incredibly unconventional – not that I don’t appreciate that – but it took a turn for religio-historical in its attempts at explanation. As an historian of religion, that’s generally my favorite direction for things to be taken, but in this case, it drew a little short. I appreciated the incorporation of pagan lore, alternative explanations for ancient deification, and mentions of Persia and Sumeria, but all told, it was a little convoluted and under-explained despite the fact that they spent too much time trying. I love to be like, “Wow, cool explanation.” This time I was like, “Okay, that’s a little odd,” (e.g. what happens to his powers over time, etc.).
But don’t let those critiques deter you – only serve as fair warnings in case you thought you were seeing the most consistent and well thought-out Will Smith movie that ever there was. Like I said, despite these things it’s an enjoyable thrill ride with an ending more uplifting than I Am Legend (a movie I thought was spectacular). I love Smith’s move to darker films because I think he can do it all. I also think Charlize Theron is the most beautiful woman in Hollywood and love watching her go. Jason Bateman, though he acts in a predictable way and always seems to be the same guy, does a nice job too – great drunk scene but where was the hangover the next morning, buddy?
Worst part of the movie was when everyone clapped at the end. Glad to know you liked it but I hate clapping in movies. They can’t hear you, you know.
I give Hancock 7 Chocolate Salty Balls.
Have you seen it? What’d you think?
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