It’s time for my third movie that fits into February’s theme of Black Superheroes, and it’s probably one of my favorites for this month. I believe I watched it sometime after it had come out on home video and I had the same reaction of many people that I knew or read about online. The first half of the movie was great, but the second half sucked. And watching it again, it’s still pretty much how I feel about the movie although I feel like I’ve softened up to the second half a little bit. I was watching the unrated version this time, I think I watched the regular PG-13 version the first time. There wasn’t a whole lot in it that seemed to warrant the unrated part aside from one kinda sex scene which was played for laughs and possibly a few more swear words.
The movie is about John Hancock played by Will Smith. He’s basically what most people would really become if they were given superpowers. He’s drunk most of the time, anything he needs or wants he just takes, though he limits it to stuff he actually needs to survive plus copious amounts of alcohol and Jiffy Pop, and he plays the hero in his free time. But instead of doing things the smart way, he does it the brute force way. Watching Will Smith act like a jerk with superpowers was hilarious and I spent a lot of the first half of this movie laughing. Especially when he starts interacting with Jason Bateman, I’ve seen the movie twice and still don’t remember his character’s name, mostly because he plays the same character he always plays, but I love it. He’s a PR guy that decided to make over Hancock’s image and it starts with him going to jail for all the destruction he’s caused. My absolute favorite part that had me laughing on the lead up to it because I remembered what was coming was the jail scene… I’ll just leave it at that… no I won’t, there’ll be a picture of it right below this paragraph. I can’t resist.
The second half of the movie is where it goes a little off. The mythology of Hancock and how he came to his powers is that he is one of the last two immortals on Earth. Immortals who have access to their own off switch in the form of their mate, so when they grow tired of the eternity of life, they simply find their mate and they will become mortal, grow old, and die. The only problem is that Hancock’s mate left him 80 years ago and is married to Jason Bateman. That’s ok, but the way they reveal it is that she kisses Hancock, then throws him out of her house literally, meets him to explain their story but ends up fighting him in a big action setpiece instead. It just feels like a cop out excuse to have two superpowered beings fighting in the middle of the city, and why the heck does their fighting cause a storm? I also thought the final battle scene was handled pretty poorly, I wasn’t sure if she was actually supposed to be feeling his pain, or if they were trying to line up what was happening to each of them separately so they connected. Like he happened to get shot at the same time that the doctors used the heart paddles on her. I think it would have made for a better scene if the latter happened.
This movie surprisingly reminded me a lot of Super and Kick-Ass although in a different way. All three movies try to present superheroes in a pretty realistic fashion where the heroes face very real consequences based on their actions. But where the first two feature normal men becoming costumed crimefighters, this movie features a normal guy with a lot of flaws who happens to have superpowers and wants to do good. Kick-Ass and Super both deal with consequences like gunshot wounds and getting beaten up, Hancock deals with consequences like collateral damages, public opinion, and at least in the unrated version what happens when someone with Superman’s power climaxes. The other thing about the three movies is they follow a similar pattern of very comedic first and second acts followed by heavy drama in the third act. Aside from my complaint earlier, I think it works pretty well in Hancock’s favor. Will Smith does a great job conveying both the asshole moments as well as the more human side. Charlize Theron has her moments but for whatever reason, I just didn’t like her character very much, I liked her as Jason Bateman’s wife, but I just didn’t see her as a superhero. For whatever reason it just didn’t fit.
But as I mentioned in the beginning, I really liked this movie and had a blast watching it. The funny parts are really funny, the touching moments are pretty touching, and the action scenes are pretty decent. There’s really only three action scenes in this movie, the first one is great even though it’s pretty subdued where he takes out the robbery as his first act as a real superhero, the second one is kind of annoying with unnecessary special effects, and the third one is overtaken by overblown dying drama. This is another movie like the Incredibles that I would only half love to see a sequel to. I think Hancock is a great character, yet I’m not sure if there’s really a worthy story to make into a sequel. As far as Jena’s part, she didn’t watch this movie but I would have let her, she just wasn’t interested. Coming up next I go back to the downside of Black Superhero movies with Blankman. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.