Hancock (Columbia Pictures, PG-13)

film_hancock_sm.jpgThe fun in this film is watching Hancock be his own worst enemy and then trying to become better at the whole superhero thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We’ve seen superheroes who are a bit rough around the edges before, right? Wolverine, The Thing and even Batman have some difficult personality traits. But, the coarsest of all must be Hancock (Will Smith). As the hermit superhero of Los Angeles, Hancock has boozed, cursed and crashed his way to safer streets. A little asshole behavior might go mostly unnoticed, but Hancock has made a career out of causing much more damage than many of the criminals he subdues. After he pierces a car full of baddies with the spire of L.A.’s iconic Capitol Records building (and destroys several cop cars with the police still in them), the city he protects is finally tired of his crap.

When Hancock saves public relations executive Ray (Jason Bateman) from an oncoming train, Ray offers to repay him by helping mend his public image. After meeting Ray’s alluring wife Mary (Charlize Theron), Hancock reluctantly agrees.

Hancock has the benefit of a really interesting premise that’s pretty well developed and presented. Director Peter Berg and writers Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan have made a true big-summer movie that’s totally worth the price of admission.

You won’t exactly find the most revolutionary special effects in Hancock, but you will enjoy what you do see. The flying Hancock tearing up the pavement every time he lands or takes off, two prison bullies getting something they never expected, and Hancock battling it out on the streets of Los Angeles with someone who just might be able to take him are all CGI specials worthy of your rapt attention.

I’ve seen so many films with original ideas start off great and then fail to truly fulfill the promise of what inspired it. Hancock is not one of those movies. The fun in this film is watching Hancock be his own worst enemy and then trying to become better at the whole superhero thing.

However, while the script is funny, engaging and different, there are a couple of holes. Hancock, for example, has a symbol like all good superheroes, but we never find out why he’s chosen it. And the explanation for his powers is pretty short on details, but if you can wrap your head around it, you’ll probably get a pretty good feel for who he really is.

In the acting realm, Smith has done it again. His Hancock is different from any other character in which we’ve seen him: lonely, confused and bitter, but still funny and a joy to watch. I think Smith may be our only true "movie star" right now, able to lead a film to a big opening and keep it at the top for weeks after. And Bateman and Theron manage to show us again why they deserved second chances after middling ’80s sitcoms and below-average ’90s films. | Adrienne Jones

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