John Hancock (Will Smith) flies around Los Angeles, protecting innocent people from criminals and disaster, when he could be bothered or wasnít too drunk. Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), public relations specialist with a big heart, is one of the people Hancock has rescued from tragedy. It was a lucky connection for each, because Hancock had earned a reputation for being a drunk bastard, whose reckless rescues often seem worse than the danger and Ray canít get his idea to save the world off the ground. Mary Embrey (Charlize Theron), Rayís wife, hates, and Aaron Embrey (Jae Head), Rayís son, adores Hancock. Ray, Mary, Aaron and Hancock struggle to repair Hancockís reputation by making him a hero worth admiring.
It is no simple feat to make a character multi-dimensional, but to make him supernatural and believable is no less than applause worthy. Writers Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan should be credited for creating a character, Hancock, rich in complex emotions, veiled under an alcoholic veneer, which shields him from his sheer loneliness and protects him from the hate spewed on him by the public. In the beginning of movie, it is hard to like Hancock, even when he is mid-heroic act. As the movie progresses, so does Hancock. He grows, he learns and he tries. Ngo and Gilliganís accomplishments donít end with Hancock himself.
Hancock the character was not the only great part of Hancock. The comedy leaves the audience in high spirits, so the moments of sincere tenderness and disturbing scenes land especially hard in the laps of those watching.
I wonít be ruining it for you to tell you there is a surprise so huge in Hancock, it couldnít fit in a fridge. The entire audience gasped and sat in stunned amazement as the plot unfolded in a way none of us saw coming. Calling it a jaw dropper would not be an exaggeration.
Will Smith is sinfully sinful as Hancock. He gives such a raw dirtiness to Hancock, but does not make him unlovable. Smithís comedic timing was flawless. His attention to the emotional details at the end of the movie make Hancock worth the audienceís forgiveness.
Charlize Theron goes toe to toe with Smith in a thespian tug of war that ends in a tie. Her performance brought tears to my eyes and made my heart break. Theron should be locked up for how often she steals the scene in Hancock!
Jason Bateman is no slacker either. His wide-eyed, bushy-tailed enthusiasm portrayal of Ray cheers up the audience when itís his turn on screen. Look to Bateman to make you laugh more than any other actor.
Hancock has sensational visual effects. There is no shortage of explosions, destroyed streets, and buildings falling down. In the opening scenes there is even a scene inspired by the Flintstones but done with such great visuals, there is nothing stone aged about it. I had completely suspended my disbelief, lost myself in the story and became entranced in the visuals.
Heck, even the music is good. There is a song in Hancock with all of the brass a super hero deserves but is fresh and original.
When the music, acting, writing, and visuals all come together to become one great movie, not separate things from each other, the director should take all the credit. Peter Bergís direction in Hancock is deserving of merit and earns my acclaim.
My only complaint is the shallow villain. While his part is small and simple, it was not given the same care the other characters were and there was a missed opportunity to create another layer of depth.
I have had serious problems with typical tight wearing super heroes and their tactics. The tax payers have to clean up after them, they are never accountable to anyone once they kill and the topic of loneliness is often ignored. Hancock addresses all those points and does it in a way that leaves the audience nearly in tears, high from laughter and wanting to know more.
Hancock is heartfelt, funny, abrasive, and fantastic with eye candy that captures the audience and doesnít let go. Donít miss Hancock. Itís time well spent.
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