Will Smith stars as the dissolute John Hancock, an alcoholic ‘superhero’ with a tendency to cause chaos. In steps Jason Bateman as a PR agent ready to transform Hancock into a genuine hero, which includes a stint in prison and rehab, despite the dire warnings from his wife, played by Charlize Theron, that men like Hancock only break everything.
The first half an hour or so is played strictly for laughs, and includes a number of stand-out scenes. A drunken flight down a freeway after a car full of gun-toting hoons results in chaos; Hancock wraps a freight train around himself to prevent a driver being mashed while stuck on a level crossing. But then the film takes an interesting turn, introducing a metaphysical reason for Hancock’s superpowers and sudden mortality.
By the end the comedy has evaporated and the film has become fairly serious in the way it approaches themes like redemption and sacrifice. With a bit of blood and plenty of darkness in the final third, this is less the comedy the trailers promised, and more of a morality tale. And to be honest, it’s better off for that.
Jongudmund’s rating: 8/10 - Highly recommended
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