The Story: Hancock (Will Smith) is a drunken superhero who would much rather be left alone than save people. When he saves the life of a PR man named Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), his life takes a drastic change. Hancock tries to revamp his image while at the same time trying to find out who he is. In his search he discovers a mysterious connection to Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron).
Pros: I’m a huge Peter Berg fan and this is a more light-hearted directing turn for him compared to his last film, The Kingdom. Hancock is filled with laughs and big action set pieces that everyone will enjoy. Hancock is not your Superman or Batman and that’s what makes the movie so unique and funny. Smith plays the character like a man who just has these powers and hates being forced into being a hero when he just wants to be on his own. You also delve into Hancock’s deeper life and discover there’s a whole history to superheroes that is told by Ray’s wife Mary. Berg crafts a finely woven backstory that could be used to craft a whole universe of heroes like these. I usually don’t consider sequels to films right off the bat but I could definitely see a sequel to Hancock showing off more of this universe. Smith plays the character wonderfully. It’s nice to see him more light-hearted and loose like his past roles in things like Bad Boys. Jason Bateman continues to go from one great project to another and while he’s not the focal point of the movie he has the most heart and kindness of all the characters and you really connect to him. He also has quite a few one-liners that are hilarious. Charlize Theron does well with her role, which I’ll discuss in the cons, and she could easily pull off any type of female superhero. The action in this is fast-paced and the special effects are great. Whether it’s hurling a blue whale or just having Hancock fly through the air, I was on the edge of my seat and at an hour and a half the time flies by.
Cons: My biggest issue with Hancock has to be how Charlize Theron’s character is dealt with. From the minute she shows up and sets eyes on Hancock her face gives everything away. I knew immediately what her connection to Hancock was and it really took away from the surprise. I also felt her transformation from happy housewife to sexy superhero was incredibly abrupt. Berg seemed to be trying so hard to pass her off as a different woman it just seemed ridiculous. A little eyeliner and a plunging neckline really didn’t distance her from the mother we see five minutes beforehand.
Features: For a single disc you get quite a lot of bonus material that will give you insight on the movie. “Superhumans: The Making of Hancock” is a standard making-of featurette that is incredibly interesting in that it discusses what the movie was before it hit the screen. The writers detail the original version of the movie, titled “Tonight, He Comes” that had been floating around Hollywood for years. I always find it interesting to hear stories of movies in “development hell” and they really focus on how the film came to the screen. “Seeing the Future” is interesting in that it shows scenes before and after hitting the editing bay. I’m not a huge fan of this stuff but if you enjoyed the effects and want to see how they were originally filmed this feature is for you. “Building a Better Hero” follows effects man John Dykstra. Again any effects fans will love listening to him discuss those aspects of the film. “Bumps and Bruises” details more of the action sequences which are cool to watch, especially since this film is dominated by action set pieces. “Mere Mortals: Behind the Scenes with ‘Dirty Pete’” was probably my favorite as it showed director Peter Berg goofing around while directing. Fans of Berg will love watching him cut loose and you really see how much fun he had making this movie. There is also a Previews section filled with previews ranging from The House Bunny, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist to Will Smith’s Oscar nominated film The Pursuit of Happyness.
Overall: I loved Hancock and consider him up there with all the other superheroes in the universe. If you want to spend some time laughing and enjoying some great action and adventure this is the movie for you. The DVD has a feature for everyone so after you watch the movie check them out. I give the movie and DVD a 3.5/5.