Movie Review: Hancock (2008)

Hancock is Los Angeles’ resident alcohol-fueled, low-flying sometimes hero. With all the exciting aspects of an action movie, sparkling comedy and a heartfelt plot, this is the most honest super hero movie I’ve ever seen.

When not drunk, John Hancock (Will Smith) flies around Los Angeles, protecting innocent people from criminals and disaster. The rest of his time is spent creating or recovering from hangovers. Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) is a big-hearted public relations specialist that was rescued from tragedy by Hancock. It turns out to be a lucky connection for each because Hancock has earned a reputation for being an asshole – his reckless and sloppy rescues were often times worse than the original danger – and Ray can’t get his grand idea to save the world off the ground. Together with Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron) and son Aaron (Jae Head), Ray and Hancock struggle to repair his tarnished reputation by making him a hero worth admiring. It is no simple feat.

It is also not a simple achievement to make a fictional character multi-dimensional, but to make one supernatural and believable at the same time is no less than applause worthy. Writers Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan should be credited for creating a character rich in complex emotions, all veiled beneath an alcoholic veneer, which shields him from his sheer loneliness and from the hate spewed on him by the public. In the beginning of the movie, it is hard to like Hancock, even when he is in the middle of a heroic act. Yet as the movie progresses, so does Hancock – he grows, he learns and he tries.

Giving the characters life are great interpretations by the actors. Will Smith is sinfully sinful as Hancock. He gives a raw dirtiness to the role, but does not make him unlovable. His attention to the emotional details, especially at the end of the movie, makes Hancock worth the audience’s forgiveness. Also, Smith’s comedic timing was flawless. 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 enthusiastic portrayal of Ray cheers up the audience when it’s his turn on screen. Look to Bateman to make you laugh more than any other actor.

Hancock has got itself some sensational visual effects too. There is no shortage of explosions, destroyed streets, and buildings falling down. In the opening 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 the movie that has all of the brass a super hero deserves but is fresh and original.

When the music, acting, writing, and visuals all come together to meld into a great movie, not separate things from each other, the director should take all the credit. Peter Berg’s 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 given and there was a missed opportunity to create another layer of depth.

In the past I’ve had serious problems with the typical tights wearing super hero and the tactics they employ. The tax payers have to clean up after them, they are never accountable to anyone once they perform their “service” 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 or high from laughter. In either case, they’ll be yearning for more.

Don’t miss Hancock. It’s time very well spent.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
5 Star Rating: Fantastic


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'Movie Review: Hancock (2008)' have 12 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 27, 2008 @ 11:34 am Vince

    Trailers look awesome. Happy to hear it lives up to them.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 4, 2008 @ 3:18 am lia

    the movie was good at first, but after an unexpected twist, it was really laim.


  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 7, 2008 @ 11:09 am Helga

    I love Will Smith, he is a very good actor. I have see the trailer and this week i will see the film. I think it will be very nice.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 7, 2008 @ 3:20 pm Morgan

    LaRae I have no idea what movie you watched but this movie lost its identity after the halfway point.

    Lia is right, the twist and the ensuing sappiness was totally lame.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 8, 2008 @ 10:57 am B

    I’ve got to go against you on this one; Hancock had an exciting premise and it started nicely but it degenerated way too quickly into the redemption phase. I wanted to see more bad Hancock.

    The stupid twist in the middle really made no sense and was never explained fully and the ending was rushed and abrupt.

    Go see Wall-E if you want to watch a good summer movie.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 4, 2008 @ 4:26 pm Marius

    Just saw this movie..What a complete waste of time and good beer.
    Not sure why the guy writing the review thinks is time well spent…no story, no fun, no good jokes. Maybe the effects were good but that is not enough for me.
    Stay away dudes from this one :)

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 27, 2009 @ 10:56 pm Beats

    I finally watched this a few days ago, it was a nice change from the usual superhero movies. I wasn’t really suprised when the twist happened because seriously… what else would she be doing in this movie lol. The end was alright but it wasn’t as bad as most people make it seem.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 12, 2010 @ 2:48 am Broadband

    I too enjoyed the movie “Hancock”. The performance of Will Smith’s was really amazing.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 1, 2010 @ 9:24 am Amanda

    I usually like Smiths acting no matter wether it is in Action genre like Bad Boys or Comedy like Men in Black but Hancock was not so good….

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 8, 2010 @ 7:29 pm Sonic Toys

    I heard mixed things about this one. never actually saw it myself. I can just hope they start showing it on an airplane or something because I can’t see any other time that I would decide to watch it!!

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 14, 2011 @ 6:41 am Chloe

    Honestly I watched this and found it boring and very stupid. Yeah his emotions were complex but the story line was dull. The bad guy wasn’t a evil guy (which we all love) and the girl in the movie who is his wife forever is with someone else and she will probably go back to hancock in the end. The ending was boring, gay and overly stupid. The grahpics? WHAT GRAPHICS? The only good stuff was the train scene and the truck when they fight but it was really boring. Nothing good happened and it was a waste of my time.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 24, 2017 @ 12:01 am Hip Hop Beats

    For a superhero movie Hancock was decent. It’s decent in the fact that it is still talked about today. It wasn’t a totally forgettable movie mainly due to the concept.

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