In the pantheon of Fourth of July Will Smith blockbusters, Hancock, directed by Peter Berg, will rank significantly higher than Men in Black 2 but far lower than the granddaddy of them all, Independence Day. In other words: It isn't horrible, but it's far from classic. Actually, it does pretty much everything it should do for what it is: explosions, romance, laughs, heroes, villains, and gobs of patriotism.
The name of the film is actually one of the least patriotic things about it. It's simply the surname our hero stumbled upon. Go figure. But I'll be darned if the film as a whole is not something President George W. Bush will gleefully enjoy.
Now I do not know Peter Berg's politics, but it is interesting that the films he's directed have thrown the unusually conservative bone to red state America. Friday Night Lights celebrates Texas football, The Kingdom glories in killing vicious terrorists, and Hancock—stretch though it may be—seems to be an apologetic for President Bush. The film is all about a good-at-heart guy with super powers (played by Smith) who tries to do good things but often leaves a messy trail of destruction in his wake.
To put the kibosh on a highway chase, Hancock inflicts $9 million in damages on the city of Los Angeles; in rescuing a beached whale, he destroys a sailing yacht. And so on. Naturally, the people get angry and are not thankful in the least—repaying Hancock's clumsy heroics with jeers and protests. They are not tolerant of heroism when there is a cost involved, just like the many Americans clamoring for an exit in Iraq. Is Hancock some personification of Bush? Probably not, but it's a thought.
First and foremost, though, Hancock is a popcorn superhero movie. The plot is fairly ...1