Rachel's Blog: Review: Hancock

Tue, 15 Jul 2008

Don't even read this unless you've seen the film. Srsly. I'm not even going to try and separate the spoilers from the chaff*.

First off, I really liked Hancock. I'd see it again. Charlize Theron does good work with what is in the end, three different roles and Will Smith plays it well. Predictably, but well.

There were two points however, at which the story failed for me and unfortunately they occurred quite close together towards the end, so I came out thinking a little bit, huh?

The internal logic, if you think about it for just a minute really comes unglued. They're both Angels I think? And they both have the same powers (well, very similar). Conceived as pairs I get, yet later they are described as opposites. What about them is opposite? Male, female, black, white? But we're all taught these days that those are not very great differences at all. Not so much that when they get together they become mortal. What's the sense in that? They're conceived as pairs of great strength to come to earth and... live as humans? I don't get it. So why do they stay together? Some irresistible love for each other? But that's contradicted by the ending, where they're perfectly happy living separate lives with Ray and the eagle. (The eagle was cool. Pointless, but cool!)

More distracting for me though than broken logic was the way we were expected to keep up with Angel's (stoopid name btw) changing loyalties without any good reason. She's a committed partner and parent. Check, I bought that. Then, as soon as she's challenged she dons the Outfit of Sexy Eeevil (dark mascara, tight pants, plunging neckline). For what? Because she feels threatened? I would have believed this more if she'd stayed in her sundress and sandals and got really angry. But if we stay this course while they destroy the city around them we can only infer that she must be a baddie. So when Angel comes to Hancock in the hospital and talks at him about how great they used to be, how can I accept that change in character? I can't. They're just words! Why does he even believe her?

And here's where I indulge in one of my How to Improve a Will Smith film diatribes.

Angel has faced Hancock and they're wrecking the joint. As they do so he's becoming more and more mortal (staying with the faulty logic). He gets pummelled by a few buildings, has a concrete mixer dumped on top of him and he begins to remember. He remembers being with her in Greece, Miami or wherever. Via flashbacks we can see all that stuff that Angel spouts off in the hospital about their life together - the sword fight, the fire. We see how he gets injured whenever she's around. All this time he can believe she's his sister. Then we can still get the reveal at the same time as Ray at the house, they can still do the liquor store attack, which becomes even more pathetic because it's such a petty crime. Finally, at the hospital, she can come back, not to exposition us to death, but to apologise to Hancock for leaving him in the dark for eighty years. Then (and this is the good part) when they're both busy dying and Hancock leaps out of the hospital to save her life it Means Something. It shows that he forgives her and that he accepts the life she's chosen with Ray. I could see that his attempting to fly down the street was supposed to be the big moment in the film, with the rousing music and all, but it just didn't work because of the lack of emotional resonance behind it.

Also, the two codas were shit. Coulda lived without them.

Did I mention I liked the film? It's loads of fun. I like new superheroes and I like the gratuitous destruction of freight trains, so yay!




*I mean wheat. It's all finest quality wheat here.