Writer: Cammy Zulkifli
Overall: 3.5 Out of 5
Cast: 3.5 Out of 5
Plot: 3.5 Out of 5
Effects: 3.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.0 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: "Superman", "My Super Ex-Girlfriend"
In present day Los Angeles, John Hancock (Will Smith) would have been a regular drunkard if he didn't possess Superman-like superpowers, but his attempts at being a superhero are obstructed by indifference. The one good thing about Hancock's character is that he's relatively unheard of, has not had a string of comic books before this and certainly has very little following. But this movie could change that.
Director Peter Berg employed some nauseating camerawork, in a very "Cloverfield" handheld digicam fashion, to breed a sense of reality to the film. Its subject matter may be an unworldly superhero with superhuman abilities but "Hancock" wouldn't be caught dead in the wake of its based-on-comic counterparts.
Applying an approach that's pragmatic and down-to-earth, the film is devoid of superhero concepts - no otherworldly origins, no Kryptonite-like relics of aversion and surprisingly, no menacing or colourful villains to fend off. Jason Bateman's character, Ray, proposes hope to Hancock's incurable public image, while the son Aaron is the one odd example of a child's unflinching adoration for a fallen superhero. It is indeed steeped in morals and value instead of relying on CG-infused awe to tantalise.
True, the film isn't - and doesn't try to be - as lavish as "Iron Man", but Hancock's entertaining antics are nothing short of humourous. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and each character has their moment to shine.
Will Smith exudes ample charisma (or should be say total lack thereof) to play the superhero everyone loves to hate. With no other worthy characters to overshadow, Smith conquers this flick like it belongs to him. His scenes were memorable (especially one where he wrestles on air and lands against another 'superhero') although the human baddies are hardly any challenge for him. But Hancock isn't all perfect - he is conflicted and isn't truly indestructible - and that becomes his own Kryptonite. Smith's blessed reputation as a golden actor makes Hancock nearly impossible for the viewer to hate.
The addition of Charlize Theron as Ray's stay-at-home wife Mary adds more depth to the story than one would expect. The basic synopsis insinuates a salacious affair between Mary and Hancock, but it is perhaps just a deliberate gimmick to lure in crowd volume. Either way, Theron's character exerts and fills in blanks which Ray couldn't, unveiling a surprising twist which no one could've seen coming.
In tune with its practicality, the special effects were rendered the same, but were eye-popping nonetheless. However, the film loses its lustre towards the final bits where drama and melancholy took over its lovable light-heartedness, but not without hitting all the right notes with competent accompanying background scores.
"Hancock" treads an innovative concept which other superhero movies have given a miss. With good chemistry among the characters and its digestible humour and action, "Hancock" is definitely a solid popcorn flick. Here's the biggest con though - it's a great concept, but wasn't executed as well as it could have been. The genre interchanges too steeply towards the end but still, this is one absolutely entertaining flick.
Cinema Online, 23 September 2008