Hancock (2008 movie)…

Hancock (2008 movie) after the break…

Hancock (2008 movie)…

It must be tough to be a superhero. Everyone wants your autograph. Everyone wants you to save their bus hanging perilously over the side of a bridge. Everyone wants you to endorse their product, to be interviewed on their talk show.

There is a dark side to popularity, though. Everyone claims that you’ve fathered their child. Everyone thinks that you stole their idea for a screenplay. Everyone thinks that you can’t act, can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t write & can’t direct. Make a joke? Everyone thinks that it’s inappropriate. Have an opinion? Everyone thinks that it sucks.

For a superhero, the dark side of popularity includes the very real possibility of recklessly endangering someone else’s life to save another. Did you stop that train in time? Well, you just ruined a $50 million dollar train, not to mention the cargo inside. Did you stop that runaway car by suddenly slowing it down? Expect the criminals inside to sue for sprained necks & other injuries.

While “Hancock” isn’t the first movie to explore the grittier, more realistic side of being a superhero, it at least has an appealing premise in doing so: “Hancock” is the name of a superhero who has seen his better days. Like a morbid Rube Goldberg machine, his crime-fighting is often worse then the crimes themselves. Stopping a runaway car ruins a city’s landmark along with a few cop cars. Helping a beached whale not only destroys a yacht but kills the whale in the process. With heroes like these, who needs villains?

When Hancock saves a hapless but hopeful image consultant from certain death (with the usual unintended consequences of additional mayhem & destruction), it marks the beginning of a uncertain friendship between the two. The image consultant is desperate to make the world a better place &, deep down, Hancock wants out of a destructive lifestyle that has an entire city seething to be rid of their immovable & indestructible menace.

Everyone loves a story of redemption, especially when it is spiced with occasional sight gag of a superhero who thinks nothing of abusing their powers. As long as “Hancock” putters down a road driven mainly by the image consultant & the superhero, the movie is surprisingly entertaining.

However, no superhero is without their supervillain & no superhero movie is without a super villainous plot obstacle that must be overcome before the entire movie & not just the parts that have the most CGI in them can be fully enjoyed.

Unfortunately, although Hancock can defeat his villain in the film (not necessarily a super-villain but a villain nonetheless), the movie can not defeat a gimmicky & cheap plot obstacle that all but annihilates the enjoyment & novelty of the first half of the movie.

No, I won’t spoil the ‘gimmick’ for you although a quick search of the Internet will more then likely reveal it. Let’s just say that Hancock isn’t alone in his abilities & leave it at that.

For those of you who want to remember the film as being somewhat of a nice movie, shut the TV off after Hancock thwarts an explosive bank robbery. Otherwise, prepare to witness what a movie looks like when two screenwriters work each on their own half of a screenplay & will not compromise with the other. Yes, the transition is that stark. While I seriously doubt that all of the screenwriters intended to out-do the other, you get the feeling that some executive, after reading a better draft of this movie, ran screaming out of his office demanding that the film be given a ‘gimmick’ on the magnitude of Bruce Willis being a ghost.

I can’t honestly recommend this film which is rather quite unfortunate. A nice beginning can’t hold onto a loud, gimmicky ending. Much like the title character, it means well in it’s intent but it’s execution leaves a lot to be desired.

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