In a summer movie season filled with comic book superheroes like Batman, the Hulk and Iron Man, Will Smith’s "Hancock" is maybe the most interesting of the bunch. He’s faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive, but he’s also a boozer and a loser who tears up half of Los Angeles even as he’s fighting crime.
Jason Bateman has become the go-to actor to play a certain kind of quipster who’s basically a decent guy. Here he plays Ray, an idealistic PR guy who tries to help the hated Hancock rehabilitate his image.
The rehabbing Hancock tries to balance heroics with a kinder, gentler side. It’s not easy being a superhero who has to make sure he’s not offending anyone.
Rated PG-13 but coming very close to an R, "Hancock" is violent, intermittently funny, occasionally frustrating and nearly great. It’s directed by Peter Berg, the "Friday Night Lights" guy who loves those shaky cameras. He’s so intent on giving us a frantic and intense ride that the more interesting elements of Hancock’s story often take a back seat. Smith, Bateman and Charlize Theron as Bateman’s wife are all first-rate. There are some big laughs, and some big ideas. Not everything works, but this is still one of the more intriguing takes on the well-worn superhero theme.