When the trailers were released, I basically thought it was going to be a knock-off superhero movie that had the "original" twists of 1) a black superhero and 2) a bum superhero turned good. I use "original" in quotes because, well, I read comics. Also I watched Superman 3. Remember Superman 3? I loved bum Superman. I don't know, there was something about him being all fake-five o'clock-shadowy and seeing Christopher Reeves play surly that I just was into. As a ten year old. Yeah I don't know.
By the way. Kryptonite laced with tobacco tar? You know the cigarette companies freaked when they found that out. Hilarious! Why confuse everyone with red kryptonite when you can demonize tobacco? (For the record, smoking is gross, and obviously Superman agrees. He seems to be a fan of the whiskey, though.) Remember back in the day when we admitted that everyone smoked by showing it on movies all the time? Way to take a stand, Supes. Way to take a stand.
So Hancock. I'll admit it, I giggle a little every time I say or write the word. I'm secretly a twelve year old.
Based on the trailers, I thought this movie would be fairly predictable. And in a lot of ways it was. But then Charlize Theron popped up. Now, I'd seen her in one of the trailers, walking next to Will Smith and Jason Bateman, and again in a dinner scene, and I was like "why is she not even billed in this"?
Except she is. Billed second.
Obviously they were keeping a Big Secret under wraps.
Yeah, the big secret is that there's also a female superhero (or god or angel, more on that in a bit) and she's more powerful than the male superhero.
Also all she wants to do in life is have a family.
Okay, so I know I said I liked the movie. And I did, because the existence of Charlize Theron's character was a pleasant surprise, and the ending was an even more pleasant one. I like the idea of immortals that understand that, while they may be fated for each other, they don't have to constantly be together every single lifetime. And sometimes, maybe, they shouldn't be.
Suck it, Stefanie Meyer. Stefenie? Whatever.
It made me wonder why they couldn't market this with Charlize Theron as the number two. And then I remember: oh yeah, the mass consumer doesn't buy female super heroes. There are no female Avengers in the upcoming movie, we'll be lucky if Black Widow doesn't fall in love with Iron Man in the upcoming sequel, and Wonder Woman will probably never be made.
Meanwhile Ryan Reynolds has been tapped to play every single wise-cracking superhero ever written.
Right now, there are some really really awesome women in comics. They're still sort of bumping up against the glass ceiling insofar as they wear the most ridiculous costumes ever, tend to use sex appeal more to get what they want, and have disproportional breast-to-body ratios, but they're still there kicking ass. I don't think I need to list them here.
But these women won't sell movies.
I don't know. Lots of reasons, I'm sure. But male viewers appreciate female superheroes, and female viewers generate a lot of box office (hello, Twilight and every Sandra Bullock movie ever?), and I bet they'd be interested in female superheroes. There's this base assumption that women don't like action movies. I think women like intelligent action movies just fine. Listen, Iron Man and Lord of the Rings didn't make bajillions of dollars on male ticket sales alone.
Back to Hancock. So Mary was interesting (so was the name of Mary). I also liked the whole "we could be gods, angels, superheroes, the name changes" thing. It's an interesting idea, one which I recently bumped up against while playing Assassin's Creed 2 (play that game, the story is fantastic). According to imdb trivia, the eagle may represent that Hancock is Zeus, making Mary Hera. (Backed up by her brother/sister comment from the ridiculous Jiffy Pop scene. Jiffy Pop? Really?) That would explain her sudden bitchiness (for lack of better term), since Hera's generally not known for her pleasantness.
Would it explain her sudden heavy make-up and revealing all-black clothing, though? Yeah, no. That really got me. As much as I enjoyed the fight scene between the two of them, particularly where she was clearly much more powerful than he was, it seemed sort of random and weird.
She did look pretty awesome, though.
But the hospital stuff really won me over. If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. Predictable, but really well done from the actors and the director.
Now, I had my quibbles. The random revealing clothing, the female superhero who only wants to be a wife and mom, the fact that Jason Bateman's character axes a dude to death and apparently is okay with that (I hope he and the kid are in therapy, because... really). Will Smith pursing his lips when he's playing drunk/bad as an acting technique, and the calling of every comic superhero a "homo" (though of course Hancock ends up in a tight outfit that looks like an X-Men movie cast-off... at least they throw the joke in).
The funny thing was that in the end I enjoyed this movie. It was almost nothing like what the trailers promised, and it was a far better finished product than I expected. Even with my quibbles, this was a superhero movie about not just a superhero guy but a superhero woman, too. That's rare enough to get me interested and it was handled well enough, despite some missteps, to make me like it.