In my review of In Bruges, I wrote about how the trailer that was released for the film made it look like a completely film than what it turned out to be. While watching Hancock, it didn’t take long until I started thinking something along the same lines. Will Smith is John Hancock, a real life superman. Invulnerable, can fly, faster than a speeding bullet, all that stuff. Except that he’s an asshole. And a drunk. And he causes more damage than the criminals he catches. He can’t stand people, and people can’t stand him.

Enter Ray (Jason Bateman), an idealistic PR rep who wants to change the world for the better. Ray sees Hancock’s potential to be a symbol and force for good in the world, to make it a better place. And with that he sets about turning around Hancock’s public image.

And here, the film stops being the film shown in the trailers, and become something far, far better. There’s still the laugh out loud moments as promised by the trailers, but there’s a lot more too. There’s some really great scenes of Hancock in group therapy, and taking Jason’s recommendation to tell people “Good job” when he arrives at a crime scene to extremes. On top of this, there’s a big twist in the plot about two-thirds through, one that I completely didn’t expect, that makes the film far smarter than it tries to be.

One of the main reasons I wanted to see Hancock was so I could see Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron together on screen again, so I could sit in the cinema and mutter “Rita corny, Michael!” under my breath over and over again. Well, for the fans of Arrested Development out there, there’s another great reference in Hancock to the best sitcom ever made. One of the bad guys gets his left hand cut off, and has it replaced with a hook. Whoever thought of doing that – thank you, you wonderful bastard.

So all in all, Hancock is a better film than you thought it would be – just as funny, but with lots of other great stuff too. A highly enjoyable watch. B+.

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