Monday, July 07, 2008

Movie Review: Hancock

One of the things that appeals about the Spiderman comics over so many others is that they're not just about a superhero fighting villains. It's also about Peter Parker and his personal trials and tribulations.

"The Incredibles" appealed for much the same reason. With super powered vigilante actions banned they just try to get by in the world and blend in.

"Hancock" has a similar appeal. A simple person with super powers. How he came by these powers he doesn't know. If he has a weakness he's not found it. But society rejects him and he, in turn, rejects society. He drinks a lot. He has no friends. He does a lot of damage while protecting his city. He lives in a trailer on a distant hilltop instead of living in his city. It's a surprise to find he has a home since he appears to be homeless.

This movie has a couple of heroes and a couple of messages.

The first hero is Hancock himself. The second is an idealistic public relations agent who thinks that Hancock can be reformed and made into a respectable public figure if someone just treated him with some respect. This is done by having Hancock show some respect for the law and going to prison. This also makes the city realize how much they really need him. Plus, Hancock changes his look and how he treats others. This last bit is made easier once people stop yelling at and insulting him.

A couple of controversial messages if you care to view the movie this way.
The movie treats love as a weakness. Most movies or TV shows will have the villain make this statement and the hero reject it. But in this story it's the literal truth.
The second ... well, it'll make me sound racist to say it. It's a message that has gotten Bill Cosby and Barack Obama in trouble with the black community. It's that if a black person would just alter his behavior he (i.e. stop acting anti-white or anti-society) can become a success. That's putting it bluntly. But the difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful one is more than simple education. How they act, how they present themselves, and the effort they put in makes all the difference. This is true regardless of race.
I'll stop there. You either understand what I'm saying or you don't want to. That's a debate for another post.

There's another point to think about after the movie. But it might give away too much to talk about it here. Check the comments.

Messages of the movie aside it's still a good movie. I don't mean a good superhero movie. I mean a good movie. The trailers play up the comedic aspect. It starts that way and then becomes more serious with moments of levity.

I will be getting this movie on DVD.

1 comment:

Ibid said...

80 years ago Hancock's memory was lost when he took a severe blow to the head. The movie doesn't say this but one can presume that he was attacked for dating a white woman.
So, after a fashion, it was a history of racism that led to his antisocial behavior today. However, it was his antisocial behavior today that kept him apart from society.
The message being that it wasn't how your grandfather was treated that determines your place in the world today. Your own behavior and actions do more to determine your place than your skin color.