Hancock

Would you buy Will Smith as John Hancock, an amnesiac, grab-­ass, booze-swilling superhero who flies under the influence and disdains the punk-ass citizens of Los Angeles for thinking he's a superasshole? Trust me, you will. There also exists in L.A. a publicist, Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), committed to making the world a better place. Now, that's pushing it. Director Peter Berg has a feel for guys who screw up (see Very Bad Things), and he mines the herky-jerky script for every toxic glint of macho posturing. It's all hugely entertaining until the final reel, when the film tries for a tragic dimension it can't handle. Leave that to The Dark Knight. The actors save the day. Bateman doesn't make a false move, and a stellar Charlize Theron springs her own bolts from the blue as Ray's wife. As for Smith, he's on fire. There's nothing like a star shining on his highest beams. You follow him anywhere.

From The Archives Issue 420: April 26, 1984