Science fiction and fantasy
directed by Peter Berg
When Hancock helps Ray out of a bad situation he's grateful enough to invite him home. Ray soon realises that this is an opportunity to turn both of their lives around, by offering to improve Hancock's public image. The superhero proves to be a tough nut to crack, unwilling to change and distrustful of other people. He's laconic, crude, and he tends to come across as unfriendly. Ray gets Hancock back on track by persuading him to change his ways, and even tries to get him to show some respect for the rule of law by doing some time behind bars.
The trouble is, Ray's wife Mary (Charlize Theron) appears to distrust Hancock intensely and wants him out of their lives. Yet the feeling doesn't seem to be mutual, and Hancock finds himself drawn to her.
It makes a pleasant change to watch a superhero film that has been written for the medium rather than adapted from a comic. It doesn't suffer from the problems of over-compressed plotting or unfortunate costumes that you often see in this genre. Writers Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan have done a good job with the dialogue, coming up with snappy lines that Will Smith delivers in superb deadpan style.
We aren't told an awful lot about Hancock's origins, or what kind of creature he is, although there are some cursory details. So there's a little ambiguity about whether or not there's scope for a sequel of any kind. The story stands very well on its own, and doesn't really need a follow-up, but it does leave you wondering about the background story.
Almost inevitably, Hancock has a full complement of big-budget effects, such as the whale-flinging and Hancock flying into buildings and causing huge amounts of destruction. It's fairly violent for a film that only received a 12A rating for its theatrical release in the UK. On the whole though the action is more slapstick than brutal. It's a feelgood movie, even verging on sentimental in parts, with just enough heroic moments to be uplifting yet not melodramatic. Hancock may be a shambles as a superhero, but there's nothing messy or half-cocked about this film.
If you like this, try:Freaks: You're One Of Us by Felix Binder
A downtrodden fry cook discovers that she has special powers after she meets someone who shows her the truth about her kind in this superhero movie.
Green Lantern by Martin Campbell
Can a shiny green costume help failed pilot Hal Jordan find his inner hero?
I Am Legend by Francis Lawrence
A loose adaptation of a novel by Richard Matheson sees Will Smith as the last man on Earth, struggling against monsters and loneliness.