As expected, the Will Smith super hero vehicle Hancock is receiving a mixed critical reception. But I am glad to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this Peter-Berg helmed film, much more than Wanted, I must say, despite all the attendant hype surrounding the latter.
By now, you should know the basic plotline – Hancock (Will Smith) is a alcoholic super hero who saves lives and fights crime but in the process causes a lot of property damage. Worse still, he has an obnoxious personality and so people hate him. Along the way, he saves the life of PR guy Ray (Jason Bateman) who offers to help Hancock on improving his public image. As a result, Hancock becomes a part of Ray’s life, much to the chagrin of his wife Mary (Charlize Theron), who seems to have some kind of unspoken connection to Hancock.
So begins Ray’s plan to rehabilitate Hancock which seems to be working like a charm when the twist arrives. Yup, halfway through the film you get the mother of all twists, which you will either love or abhor. I liked it cos it gave the film a resonance that despite its flaky premise plunges a beating heart smack into the middle of proceedings.
I am not going to reveal what the twist is but I will say that the key to enjoying it is to accept without dissecting too much – this is a super hero movie, remember? People don’t fly in real life, y’know.
Director Peter Berg does a great job in managing the tone of the film, be it comedy or drama or action or even all three. The three leads deliver convincing performances especially Smith who never plays the hero straight up but goes from belligerent and unreasonable to lost and confused to mature and determined in the course of this 92 minute film.
Once upon a time, super heroes only exclusively appeared in comic books. But with Hancock, Berg and Smith have proven that it is possible to create an intelligent and witty super hero flick without having the ideas test-driven in a comic book first, which I believe is a good thing. Rather than bemoan the surfeit of super heroes at the movies, I celebrate it as what used to be a guilty pastime is now firmly in the mainstream.
That said, I am not sure if some of the more tenuous concepts can be stretched into a sequel. But if Hancock makes as much money as I believe it will, then it will probably be inevitable.