[NOTE TO COMMENTERS: PLEASE NO SPOILERS!]
Before you see HANCOCK, the new Will Smith movie about a dissolute superhero, I advise you to heed two terrible words of warning: AKIVA GOLDSMAN!!!
It also invokes Heidi’s Law of Movies: The quality of a film will be in inverse proportion to the number of short films based on production companies that precede said film. The list of producers includes Ian Bryce, Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, Michael Mann, Jonathan Mostow, Richard Saperstein and Will Smith…that’s a lot of cooks.
This is a very odd movie. It’s like some production assistant was walking along carrying a Steve Gerber superhero movie script and a Thor movie script and then dropped them on the floor and mixed up the first half of the Gerber movie with the last half of the Thor movie. I know this movie had a loooong development process, but perhaps one of my Hollywood pals can chime in on just what happened, because there is so much tinkering evident with the premise that the resulting film doesn’t make any sense. A lot of stuff happens but it isn’t about anything in particular.
The first half has moments of novelty and interest — a drunken superhero who destroys even as he’s compelled to protect is an intriguing start. If someone had made a script by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes on that topic it would have been a wonderful movie — it would not have been greenlit for $150 million however.
I’ve heard a few people say that HANCOCK is proof that soon Hollywood won’t need comic book stories for their superhero movies — they’ll just make up their own. The plot and premise here reminds me of what I would see back in the day when I was editing whenever some Hollywood guy or gal pitched me some ideas — they would be some kind of simple, deconstructed idea that would never get past the slush pile at Marvel or DC because they were so simple and direct — a regular man must deal with the effects of getting superpowers on his family (UNBREAKABLE), what if a superheroine dated a regular guy (MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND), what if a superhero was a drunk (HANCOCK.) These simple, direct ideas are aimed at the largest audience possible, and it’s tempting to think that comics might find a wider audience if they went with such ideas…but I don’t think that’s the answer either.
Anyway I can’t really recommend this movie, but it’s sure to make a bucketload opening weekend anyway — Will Smith and the Fourth of July and all that. It’s the law.