I really do not know what to make of this film. One minute I think the film is fine, then I see the glaring issues right behind it. The beginning of this film worked really well, but then we got to the twist and that god-awful third act, I think this will be another film. There is so much that film to fail to offer from what was initially going well. Will Smith plays John Hancock an alcoholic superhero (A parody of Superman if we are being honest here) who does not have memories of who he is and is frustrated of the world he lives in. He screws up a lot often causing more damage than saving people (Something Zach Snyder failed to learn in Man of Steel). Hancock initially saves a PR consultant by the name of Ray Embrey played by Jason Bateman; which led to Embrey wanting to rehabilitate Hancock’s image as a Superhero. Seems like an easy plot with a story that can develop two characters in the process. Hancock learning and understanding humanity and Embrey discovers his blind optimism can create a change once he learns how to understand how life works. I personally love Bateman’s character in this film. I think he does a great job as the ignorant youthfully optimistic Embrey and takes that character to a familiar yet interesting route. Smith’s Hancock is great too in fact; I was shocked watching this at first, he stayed away from the charismatic person he has always been in films. He did have the occasional fun spots like never call Hancock an asshole, NEVER. That remained a constant trend for Smith until the 2016 film Focus (I still like that movie, fight me).
However, the film takes an immediate turn once we get to see Charlize Theron’s character, Mary realize secrets of her own. I will not spoil her character arch but yeah it was umm interesting. Mary is Ray’s wife and she knows quite a few things about Hancock. What made the twist and eventually change in narrative fail overall is how bad the execution was. Theron and Smith’s dynamic was not as fun, which is sad, considering how great both of them are at their craft. Theron is an incredible actress but she felt misplaced here. The change in plot did her no favors and the same can be said for Bateman who took a backseat to Theron and Smith awkward on screen encounters. The villain was forgettable as well. Writing this review, I literally forgot about the villain in this film and I am writing a few hours after watching the film.
The third act of this film has to be one of the worst I have seen in a comic book film so far (The worst still goes to this god-awful which also stars Will Smith). The plot completely changes again and this time it completely killed the film for me. What started as a comedy/parody on superhero films made a dramatic turn that was so unnecessary it ultimately killed any joy I had in the film itself. There was a good film here, an honest yet simple critique of Hero’s and the ones who admire them but we lose that film half way through for something unnecessary. What made the first act great was the dynamic between Smith and Bateman, but as soon as they moved away from one another the film suffered. Charlize Theron deserved better and eventually do in a much better film. Hancock is a film that split itself into two films one was worth seeing where the story would lead to, the other was worth not seeing at all.
This film should not work by any means but somehow it did.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Wayans family. For every film and show I enjoy by them (I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, In Living Color, Mo Money, Don’t a Menace, first two Scary Movies, The Wayans Bros., White Chicks) there is those films that I cannot (Little Man, Every Marlon Wayans led film,). However, this film, wow, surprisingly I love a lot. Now, there is a lot to be concerned with most particularly the main character as a mentally disabled figure (still a genius); which could be a death sentence for film but here, it actually worked. Damon Wayans (my personal favorite of the Wayans) played his role as Darryl Walker really well here. It did not come off as an annoying but a very sympathetic figure that you can root for. When he attempts to save people, or use his inventions for the greater good makes him someone you can actually root. He does have scenes I can live without one in particular (more on that later). Then there is David Alan Grier’s character Kevin Walker who is the more mature one between him and his brother Darryl. He also wants Darryl to grow the hell up. As a cameraman for the News station, Kevin seems to no time for his brother’s inventions and foolishness until he see Darryl’s persistence as Blankman, he eventually joins as his sidekick Other Guy (I love that name. The Walkers have a very standard backstory; they lost a very close relative (their grandmother), Darryl becomes inspired by Batman to help others and his brother, Kevin becomes a hero in own right being inspired by Darryl. Their interactions are genuine and sometimes hilarious. Being cast mates in living color help shows their chemistry and they play well off one another. The funny part is they were not the stand out in this film.
That belongs to Jason Alexander wheel-chaired character Larry Stone. Alexander is prefect here as the perverted yet selfish boss. Robin Givens plays the love interest in this film, Kimberly Jonz and there’s nothing wrong with her in this movie but being of apart of that one scene (I’ll get to it don’t worry). The villain is just another one of those trope villains with a gang of mobster. Each character shine in their own right even Darryl’s robot J-5 is memorable here. There are scenes that went a little to far here. Most particularly the premature ejaculation scene after Darryl’s kiss with Kimberly and him not knowing what boobs are. Darryl’s nerdiness can be too much but the stereotype itself is a bad one. One that I’m happy we can move away from. This film has its bad moments but it’s a fun film at heart and entertaining. Just like, Meteor Man this film should not be seen as a critical viewpoint but a casual viewing. This film is a spoof/satire on the genre itself and the film plays to all the tropes most films still follow today. What made this film was the fact it should not work at all, but shockingly it does. This film is still funny and have a charm to it.
While flawed, it’s a great film if you know how to approach watching this film. Thank goodness they went this route instead of bringing the In-Living Color sketch Handiman to life that would be worrisome. As it was initially hated it came to grow into cult classic that is admired today. This is worth watching and one you come to appreciate after each viewing.