A film of two halves

What if superhumans were a bit more human; a bit too human? They can fly and fight and fling trucks around, but they’re clumsy, they drink, sulk, lash out in anger...

Nice premise, masses of promise and, for the first hour, Hancock plays out like Unbreakable meets The Incredibles. Will Smith’s reluctant guardian Angelino is roused from a hangover to fly in and foil a bank robbery.

Then, he saves failing PR guru Ray ( Jason Bateman) from a train crash and (literally) drops him home to wife Mary (Charlize Theron).

But then director Peter Berg seems to feel that the character is too unlikeable, the mood too downbeat, the story too difficult... So he pulls the Conventional Superhero Action Movie lever and all good intentions quickly unravel in a blizzard of firefights, explosions, hero-on-villain battles and dewy morality.

Shame, as Smith, Theron and Bateman all sparkle, and the backhanded dialogue edges thrillingly close to both ballsy comic-book satire and cheeky piss-take of celebrity image manipulation.

“It’s all about relationships,” says producer Akiva Goldsman in the Making Of. “How it’s so hard to get close to someone.”

Umm, no. It’s more like a barbed and volatile beast that’s allowed to roar and roam for a while but is then muzzled, neutered and steered towards a comfy cage.

Andy Lowe

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