Movie Review: Hancock (2008)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2008 movie starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron.

Synopsis: Los Angeles resident, John Hancock, uses his super powers to stop criminals and save people. However, because he is also constantly drunk and ill-tempered, he is not viewed favorably by the city's citizens, especially when he causes millions of dollars in collateral damage. When one of the people he saves offers to help repair his public image, he accepts and ends up learning more about his past than he expected.

Who's In It?


I came across this film on one of my movie channels when home for lunch earlier today and, realizing it had been a while since I had seen it, I decided to take the time to watch it. And, as I had hoped, this ended up being a great viewing experience once again.

I know there are those who will disagree with me. But, I think this is one of Will Smith's most underrated movies. And, I feel that way for a couple different reasons.

One of the big ones is the way the movie takes the time to explore the darker nature of being a superhero. Smith's character, John Hancock, tries to do the right thing. But, 80 years of being isolated because of his powers, not knowing anything about who he is or why he has those powers and a city that is more concerned about the collateral damage he does than the fact he is reducing the crime rate have taken their toll on him and, as a result, he isn't always very likable.

This is something you don't see in many other superhero films and it really stood out for me, partly because, even though he makes an effort to reform his image, there really are no guarantees it will work, especially since it wouldn't be hard to blame him if he decided to simply turn his back on the city completely.

Another thing I found I liked about this movie was the sense of mystery it created about Hancock himself. Since we know nothing about his past or how he got his powers, I pretty much expected something from his past to come back to haunt him.

And, as things began getting revealed, including who he was, how long he had been alive and how he could die, it did keep the movie from becoming as predictable as I would expect a film in this genre to be. Basically, this movie could have gone one of two routes, finishing on a triumphant note or having Hancock die a tragic (but long overdue) death and it would have been a good ending either way.

Final Opinion

This is a fun movie to watch and one I definitely did enjoy. If you have not seen it, I recommend giving it a chance.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 04/06/2017, StevenHelmer
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