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There are heroes... there are superheroes... and then there's Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility -- everyone knows that -- everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock's well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough -- as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn't the kind of man who cares what other people think -- until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock's greatest challenge yet -- and a task that may prove impossible as Ray's wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), insists that he's a lost cause.
He’s one of the few major Hollywood stars who hasn’t already squeezed himself into a pair of tights to play a superhero, so I guess it’s Will Smith’s turn. It would have been Tom Cruise’s turn, but he’s already a Scientology superhero in real life, so what’s the point in pretending?
It may be Will’s turn to take to the skies, but that doesn’t mean he has to do it the way everyone else has. Rather than sliding into some existing superhero franchise with an already existing set of fans, he’s trying his own thing by starring in an offbeat spin on the whole superhero genre in Hancock. That’s just the way Will works. Sure he does a lot of blockbusters, but you won’t ever see him in a Transformers or a Spider-Man. Even when he’s being paid piles of cash and having his movies services with lavish production budgets, Will looks for something with a little edge in it. Maybe it’s a very dull, soccer-mom friendly edge, like in Hitch, or a CGI blunted one like in Men in Black, but edge nonetheless.
Of course the strange irony to Will taking on more challenging projects is that, while he seems dead set on refusing to settle for the usual Hollywood schlock, once he’s locked in he has a reputation for taking away whatever it is about the project that made it not run-of-the-mill and replacing it with Big Willie style. Just look at I, Robot. Hancock is a movie about a drunken, celebutard, playboy superhero, and it could be a hard-hitting, sharp-edged commentary on the modern culture of celebrity while at the same time being an action adventure story with a viciously unlikable anti-hero as the lead. That’s what it could be, and that’s the movie I’m hoping to see.
It all depends on Will really. Will he let it be I Am Legend, full of unflinching, hard-to swallow commentary? Or will he use his star-power to mold the film around his persona, blunt some of those sharper edges and give us an entertaining, yet watered down version of what an idea like this could be? Man up Will, you’re a fantastic actor. You don’t need to be Big Willie. Be the amazing actor from I Am Legend and Pursuit of Happyness instead.