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willsmithforIC.jpgWill Smith has a long history of “owning” the box office during the 4th of July holiday. He’s had more movies open in the top slot during the holiday than any other movie star I can think of. So it will be interesting to see the reaction to “Hancock.” It has a smart premise – creating a John Doe type superhero for the new millenium. And the first 30 minutes of the movie are the funniest of any movie -action or otherwise- I have seen this year. However, once we get to the plot twist halfway through the movie, ‘Hancock’ becomes a convoluted jumble of superhero cliches that is dissatisfying for anyone looking for more than the lightest of escape entertainment.


Hancock is actually the kind of superhero I imagine I would be if I had superpowers. He wants to help save people but he insists on doing it his own way – which usually means with a bad attitude and a smart mouth. No one likes Hancock. No one appreciates Hancock when he saves them. But save them he does. The opening action sequences in which he rescues various people in Los Angeles from harm are clever satires that mock everything from celebrity to political correctness.
Hancock is given an extreme makeover by a top Los Angeles public relations executive (Jason Bateman) – also very funny – but after Hancock’s transformation, the laughs stop. The movie just becomes a special effects-laden story with a mythology that is not only flimsy, but also not that interesting.
The movie ends like a real superhero movie should, with obligatory sacrifice and redemption, but this movie started out as a satire. “Hancock” is refreshing and Smith is at his best in those moments when Hancock’s real superpower is being a mirror who shows us – with humor- how disaffected, apathetic and anti-social we can be.
So it’s two thumbs up for the first half of “Hancock”, but a pass on the rest of it, unless maybe you are the kind of person who loved all of the Batman movies or you thought Will Smith was a genius in “Wild Wild West”.
(Also read Movie Mom’s review as I agree that despite the PG-13 rating, this is not all that family-friendly of a flick.)

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