Will Smith. That's all you've got to say, and you're guaranteed a big opening at the box office. Well, from the looks of it, Smith also guarantees you at least a mildly entertaining film, which is what we get in his latest movie, Hancock. In the hands of any other leading star, Hancock would probably end up being a below average film. It's Smith's charisma, charm, and unwavering likability that ultimately save the film. He can make you laugh, cheer, cry, and even root for his character (who is a total ass, as he is reminded a number of times throughout the movie) no matter what kind of shenanigans he may cause.
Hancock is not the generic superhero film and is probably one of the more ingenious ideas to come across a producer's desk in quite some time. To me, what it seems like is that the writers of the film loved the idea, started off extremely strong, and then began to realize that how hard it is to sustain a simplistic idea over the course of a full length motion picture (and it is because of this that Hancock is relatively short). The writers' plan to solve this problem is to throw in a totally unnecessary and badly handled plot twist to keep the audience guessing. The lack of a central villain also hurts the movie a lot. The character that serves as Hancock's enemy in the finale isn't even well acted. The person is laughable.
This is an action movie, so it should come as no surprise to see well done and original action in the movie. However, I felt the effects could have used a few more weeks of polishing in the editing room. The camera is also quite crampy. I also have problems with the film's score, as it does not add an epic feeling to the film like it should have. I felt like something was missing in the climax of the film (which is not the end). The action scenes, while entertaining and original, were not long enough to engage the audience like say, The Incredible Hulk, nor were they as jaw dropping as those in Wanted.
The film's strength rides on its three stars. Action veterans Will Smith and Charlize Theron both deliver winning performances as usual, and that should come as no surprise. Smith's charisma is enough to make anyone happy, and it's so easy to see why so many people love him. Theron is always a sight to behold (except in Monster, lol), and this film is no different. I enjoyed her performance the most, especially in the second act and the beginning of the third. Jason Bateman, who seems to be the bridge connecting the performances of Smith and Theron, is great as usual, and likable, marking a change from his recent turn in "Juno". There really isn't another performance to note, and part of Hancock's weakness is that there are really only three main engaging characters. It should also be noted that the kid who played Bateman's son was absolutely adorable.
Hancock is the classic case of great idea, and mediocre execution. I can see this idea being remade years from now, and pulled off even better. It's not a fault of Peter Berg, the film's director, as the real weakness is in the screenplay, which falters after an excellent and wonderful opening act. It's not a bad film by any means, nor is it great. It's in between "okay" and "good".