This week’s #fbf goes to the Will Smith/Peter Berg blockbuster movie Hancock. The superhero movie that’s not based on a comic book. In a nutshell, Hancock was Superman if Superman was an asshole and had a drinking problem. He even advises a kid to deal with a bully taking “your right foot, bring it right up and catch him in his little piss pump” and also tells an elderly woman that he “will break his foot off in her ass.”
The movie starts out with Hancock waking up from a hangover and stopping some criminals with machine guns. The thing is with Hancock is – he causes more trouble and destruction than the bad guys do. He even causes some cop cars to get destroyed by all the wreckage Hancock leaves in his path. It also doesn’t help that he’s also drunk af flying in the air to get where the bad guys are.
The public hates him, a mob of people surround him and keep calling him an asshole after saving a man, but destroying a train in the process. The man he saves is actually a PR guy named Ray who is played by the always dependable Jason Bateman. Ray notices the hate Hancock gets and decides to take on the superhero as his own personal project to clean up Hancock’s image and make him the hero everyone deserves.
Hancock decides to go with it and turns himself into prison for all the damage he’s done in hopes the general public will eventually want him back. He also attends some anger management classes because like Brooklyn cop Gino Felino from the perfect Steven Seagal movie Out for Justice, he has layers and there’s more to him than meets the eye. The plan works and he comes back a cleaner, nicer version of himself. As all that is happening Hancock is feeling a connection to Ray’s wife played Charlize Theron who has a few secrets of her own that connects her to Hancock.
The superhero movies of today could actually learn a little something from Hancock. It doesn’t have that episodic feel that most Marvel movies do; it has a director that uses his distinct style to make it look and feel different from other movies. The movie’s runtime comes in at a short 92 minutes and switches from comedy to action to drama. It’s a bit of a mixed bag with its tone but that’s what you get when you have this type of cast and director. It’s its own movie and it doesn’t deserve to go on for five more movies and have it’s own cinematic universe.
Although it would be cool if we got another one.
Will Smith is actually pretty damn good in this one and you can tell he’s having fun playing the anti hero like he did as Deadshot in Suicide Squad (be quiet, that movie is actually good). Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron also acquit themselves nicely in the supporting roles. High-fives definitely have to go to director Peter Berg.
Berg at the time had just barely come off of the tough-as-fuck Jamie Foxx movie The Kingdom and had also done the high school football movie Friday Night Lights. He was establishing himself as a name with the serious stuff and this movie was able to play to his strengths with the drama and action. Berg even employed the shaky cam back when shaky cam was cool.
The movie may not be on a lot of people’s all time favorite lists but in a time where there’s a new comic book movie in development every week, Hancock is actually a breath of fresh air.