Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman
Storyline: An anti-social superhero gets an image makeover but his past is back to haunt him yet again
Bottomline: The funniest superhero movie of all times
There are superhero movies. There are superhero spoofs. And, there’s Hancock.
Seriously, Will Smith’s got to be the funniest thing on film to have ever saved the world. When was the last time you actually had an entire hall cheering and rooting whole-heartedly for a superhero/superstar not from this land?
Hancock isn’t your regular superhero. He’s jaded, bloody irresponsible, engages in drunken flying, dirty and foul-mouthed, politically incorrect (he’s mean to senior citizens, rude to children) and unwittingly wrecks the town reckless. No wonder then that he’s doing a thankless job. People hate him.
That makes John Hancock the single most irreverent superhero of our times and one of the most adorable onscreen rogues ever. A modern day Devdas, even.
The original Bad Boy would’ve been so much cooler if only he got to mouth a few more of those seven words you can’t say on television. Yes, that would’ve been a black stereotype indeed but hey, what about all those bits where he thrusts one guy’s head into another chap’s crack? The hall was in splits.
The film is a celebration of black-American humour and a little profanity would’ve done no harm, brothers. It’s juvenile fun, yeah, but not the kind of film you bring your kids to.
Though Hancock is the embodiment of the collective angst of superheroes who have a jinxed love life given their responsibilities of saving the world, Peter Berg makes sure that that inherent pathos and resulting drama, rarely takes over the light-hearted mood of a film celebrating the staple of comic books.
Employing hand-held cinematography for realism, Berg would have us believe that these guys from the comic books sporting crotchety tight capes have no clue what being a real superhero feels like. Making fun of every bit of superhero mythology, ranging from origin to costume to food habits to how they got their superhero name, the makers have done quite well to root Hancock in the real world – Hancock hates the idea of body-hugging costume, is from this planet (Miami as far as he can remember), loves his meat-balls in spaghetti like every other American family, longs for love and actually cares about what people think of him and his name was just a case of misunderstanding.
The explanation of his superhero roots is rather simple yet fascinating. What if the world’s most powerful superhero could also be the most vulnerable? Hancock is a sobering take on the life of an unlikely superhero and an attempt to capture the slices of larger-than-life through relatable paradigms. The documentary footage of the superhero on Youtube, for instance.
The climax, however, is an entirely different film ghost-directed by Karan Johar. A stretch of schmaltz.
Charlize Theron tries to steal the film from Will Smith in the second half looking hot as hell and the likeable Jason Bateman sets up the laughs throughout but it is Will who OWNS the film.
Let’s drink to a sequel and hope Hancock turns anti-social again. After all, this superhero is more fun when drunk.