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Review of Hancock (3 stars) July 1, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Other Random Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Hancock, while entertaining, could have been better. The acting was great, the effects were amazing, and the humor was usually funny. The movie’s main problem was that is was too short for the story. In more than one instance, the movie pretty much told you “this is how it is,” and just went on without explaining why. At 92 minutes, I’m sure most audience members would agree that they would have sat through 30 more minutes of the movie in order to understand several of the plot points better. Another major complaint is the overuse of vulgarity. With the f-bomb dropped twice in the first ten minutes of the movie (well, perhaps more like one and a half times, it’ll make sense when/if you see it), I figured that the language wouldn’t get any cleaner. True, those were the only times the “f-word” was used, but the use of “less harsh” curse words was fairly frequent. Still, despite these complaints there were several saving moments in the movie.


The movie opens with a high-speed police chase, before Hancock intervenes and causes massive unnecessary damage (he was drunk). The public reaction to this is that Hancock is a menace and should mind his own business. Later, Hancock saves corporation P.R. agent Ray Embrey from a train that is about to strike his car. While this also causes a massive amount of damage, Ray is grateful to have his life saved and invites Hancock over for dinner and offers to give him some P.R. advice to turn his public image around. At dinner, Hancock meets Ray’s son Aaron and Ray’s wife, Mary. (As a side note, it should be mentioned that Aaron is not Mary’s son, rather the son of Ray’s first wife, who died in childbirth.) Several meaningful glances between Hancock and Mary foreshadow that these two may have had a history. During this entire first act, there is humor, superheroic and non, sprinkled throughout.

Eventually, Hancock accepts Ray’s P.R. offer just as the city issues a warrant for Hancock’s arrest due to the damage he has caused. Ray, seeing this as the perfect opportunity, convinces Hancock to turn himself in so that the city will see how much crime rises with Hancock out of the way. While in jail, we see that Hancock’s character changes and becomes more sociable because of both Ray’s continuing tutelage and his experiences with other prisoners. Up until this point, the film had been mostly a comedy, but here it evolves to be more of a drama, a flavor that it will maintain until the end.

In time, Hancock is indeed asked to help against a bank robbery standoff, which he stops and finally becomes a publically recognized hero. Things seem to be going well until he develops unexplainable feelings for Ray’s wife, Mary. Just as they are about to kiss for the first time, the movie experiences its first major twist as it is revealed that Mary too has superpowers (this is revealed by her literally punching him out of the house) and Hancock isn’t as “alone” as he thought. Mary tries to avoid him after this, but Hancock continues to implore her for answers.

As she finally decides to “spill the beans,” the movie gets its second major twist as she reveals they are two immortal beings, given different names by different cultures, among them “gods” and “angels.” They are the last of their kind, because they are “created to be in pairs,” and when one grows close to their partner, they begin to lose aspects of their immortality, until they eventually become mortal. This is because the pairs are meant to “fall in love” and “live a normal life.” Over the centuries, Mary has tried to avoid Hancock because each of the “immortals” has a purpose, Hancock’s being to be a constant hero for humanity. Mary knows this, and has sacrificed a life with him to ensure that mankind has a protector. If any of this sounds somewhat vague, that is not my doing, this is as specific as the information gets in the movie. Ultimately, Ray finds out about Mary’s “condition,” as is extremely hurt.

Later, the villain who had masterminded the bank heist, now in prison, unites other prisoners who hate Hancock, and causes a jail break. As Hancock is stopping a different robbery, he is shot, and for the first time the bullets injure him. He is taken to the hospital, where Mary and Ray both arrive separately. The final pieces move into play as the villains arrive to attack Hancock, and Hancock, Mary and Ray all fight, with Hancock and Mary being severely injured (surprisingly, it is Ray who saves the day). As they both lose consciousness and appear to be on the verge of death, Hancock reawakes, and gets as far away as he can, as he does so, he heals, and is eventually able to fly away, while Mary also heals and regains consciousness.

One month later, we see that Ray and Mary have overcome their differences and accepted each other for what they were (not mention that Aaron loves his adoptive mother’s superpowers). While we see that Hancock has now become a superhero in NYC (the rest of the movie took place in LA), and has done something that should incredibly progress Ray’s struggling P.R. business. Hancock, while he may still have some of his quirkiness, is ready to overcome his past and help humanity.

As you can see, the movie really would have benefitted from a further explanation of who/what the “immortals” were. We don’t know anything about the others, we don’t learn what Mary’s purpose was, we don’t know who created them or why. This isn’t a Cloverfield-like experience where the clues are scattered throughout the movie and advertising, allowing the mindful viewer to puzzle it out on their own, this is a lazy move on the creators’ parts to not flesh out the back story. Still, as a superhero movie, this was quite enjoyable, and the humor for the most part was genuinely funny. The acting was also spot on. Waiting for rental would probably be the best value, but if you want to see it in the cinema, wait until it goes to the discount theatre, or at least catch a matinee showing. Don’t pay full evening price, because it is probably not worth it.




1. Daniel - July 1, 2008

Ah, man, I was hoping for a better movie. Thanks for saving me the cash with this review. http://www.bentpage.wordpress.com.

2. Lorenzo - July 3, 2008

The movie could have been a lot better, a lot of things were brought up but not explained properly. May I suggest you wait until the DVD comes out.

3. a person in school - July 5, 2008

I agree with the fact about the ”lazy move on the creators’ parts to not flesh out the back story”. I left the theater thinking the ‘immortals’ were slightly cheesy, because the audience didn’t know what they were exactly or why they were created (as for the pairs thing and true love, those elements were more expectable). The first twist, when Mary threw Hancock out of the house, seems to ‘jar the storyline’ and is so unexpected that it is almost displeasing. Also, Mary’s suddenly happy relationship with Ray also seems unplausible (of course, it is a movie) since she has told him that Hancock is her ‘husband in a way’. Otherwise, the movie was enjoyable and worth the matinee price.

Wait a minute…I wonder what was Hancock’s name before he called himself ‘Hancock?’ Wouldn’t Mary know?

4. Victoria - July 12, 2008

the movie was quite enjoyable and I completely agree in that the back story needed more explaining because during the movie I was confused and was looking for explaition from the friend I went with. I would have like that they further explained the whole we were built in pairs that was confusing me. But over all an ok movie

5. vP - July 13, 2008

Pl. folks, those of you that value family values and work hard to make money, ” do not watch this movie” :((
A total disappointment. Shame on You Wil ;(

Lots of foul language. Went and suffered along with my Teen Son. No Story at all.

The director should be locked up for this torture. At least he should send us all that have suffered some TYLENOL.

6. Alicila - August 18, 2008

Up until now I STILL don’t understand this movie. The history of those two, that is It was vague and rushed. Probably they should have cut those unneccessary money-sucking scenes where they (Hancock and Mary) were wreaking havoc on the city centre. Stretch that 92 minutes for something a little more worthwhile, like….. geee, lemme think, explaining those drawings on the wall, their history, a little of this, a little of that more ?

7. Stephenie Bayley - August 29, 2008

maayyyybeee they’re saving on the backstory for a Hancock II !!

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