Call me an asshole, one more time.
I tend to look at older movies when doing these reviews, but just rewatched “Hancock” starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman and felt the need to post about it. “Hancock” is a superhero movie that was released a decade too early. Before the superhero genre became the biggest thing in film during the 2010’s, we had a different mental image for what it should be. Growing up on comic books and heroes such as Spiderman and Superman and seeing them on film we didn’t really want or expect superheroes who weren’t super all of the time. Even though the movie grossed over $600 million worldwide it was considered a failure one of the first for a then super-hot Will Smith. This was the first movie that looked at a super anti-hero, a hero with personal issues that can create problems in their professional life. While there was always something about flawed characters that I find fascinating even for myself it was something I wasn’t expecting and something I didn’t fully understand when I first saw “Hancock”.
The movie starts with our hero Hancock with powers that would rival Superman, but without any sense of the repercussions of his “heroic” deeds. While stopping crime he ends up causing more destruction and mayhem than the criminals. While he feels a need to help people and be a hero he can’t help being an asshole about it. He saves Ray Embry (Jason Bateman) a PR spokesperson who wants to help Hancock create a new image. They soon come to a realization that the public and Hancock had created a negative feedback loop. The negative opinion of the public made Hancock more negative which created more negative feelings from the public. It’s a similar dynamic that you see from failing relationships and the idea is reexplored with the introduction of Mary (Charlize Theron) another person with the same powers as Hancock and a past relationship with him.
The love story between Hancock and Mary is bittersweet as they are two people who are fated to be together, but being apart is better for them. Sadly this is something that happens to many of us. We find the person that we really love, maybe even the person that we are fated to be with, our “soul mates”, only to discover that there are times in our lives when being together destroys us, that being together doesn’t let us be who we need to be as individuals.
When I watched “Hancock” in 2008 in the theater, while I thought that it was an okay movie I didn’t really think it was special. The action and special effects were great for the time and still translates well today without looking dated. Unfortunately, I like much of the movie going audience expected a superhero movie with a Superman, a someone to idealize and idolize without the flaws that we all have. I think with the inundation of superhero movies over the past decade we are now in search of something beyond the spectacle and something that we can relate more too. We create “heroes” in our everyday lives and idolize them without realizing that they are human too with the same flaws and capability to make mistakes that we all have. When those issues come up we either hate them for “betraying” us or ignore the problems instead of pushing for change we replace them or idolize them even further. We should realize that they are humans with flaws and that their public image is only an image.
BTW Just realized today that “Hancock” had an after credits scene before it became a thing to do.
Originally posted 2017-02-11 10:00:33.