The Reel Deal: Smiths superhero falls flat

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Forget fireworks, parades and picnics featuring high calorie foods, nothing says, "I celebrated Independence Day" quite like going to see a new Will Smith movie at the cinema.

Instead of fighting aliens determined to end life on Earth, (that was so 12 years ago) he is now trying a different approach to world savage: apathy.

Smith plays Hancock, a surly, drunken quasi-bum who happens to have super powers. They include flight, invincibility and still being handsome despite the whole I haven’t showered in a few decades look.

The opening scene shows a high-speed car chase in progress on the busy highways of Los Angeles. The suspects are hanging out of the windows shooting at everything in sight, mainly the 20-some police vehicles in pursuit.

Across town, Hancock is sleeping on a public bench surrounded by bottles of both empty and unopened alcoholic drinks. That brings up the question of if you are invincible, can you get drunk? Wouldn’t your tolerance to such things be extremely high?

Anyhoo, he is awaken from his slumber by the cutest little boy who points to a television screen and tells him to go get the bad guys.

Ignoring the situation until the boy walks off and calls him a seven-letter curse word, Hancock begrudgingly goes to offer his assistance.

His idea of help costs the city at least $12 million in damages. Furious by his destructive helping habits, there is a public outcry telling him to go find another city to torment.

After that funny scene with fairly decent special effects, we meet Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a public relations specialist who wants to save the world. Too bad his special power is being laughed at by corporate giants when he wants them to give their new breakthrough medicine away for free in exchange for an all-heart symbol.

On his way back from humanitarian humiliation, he is saved by Hancock from an oncoming train and gives the reluctant superhero something he hasn’t received before – a thank you for saving his life.

Being the do-gooder than he is, Ray brings him back to meet the family (Charlize Theron and Jae Head) and comes up with a way to get everyone to believe they need their grouchy bum with powers.

His plan calls for Hancock to turn himself into the police for outstanding warrants, and then writes an apology letter for him telling the public he can and will be better when he gets out of the clink. (His eight-year sentence is reduced to like 10 days when the chief of police needs his help with a bank hostage crisis.)

In the first half of the movie everything is cool and funny, and then something odd happens to the second half, it starts to stink a bit.

For every superhero, there has to be something that can kill them, or at least make them extremely weak. There’s kryptonite for Superman, family for Spider-Man and love from one person for Hancock. Whom that eternal love comes from is the big plot twist in the movie.

I have no problems with romance in superhero movies, but the big reveal in "Hancock" ended up being heavy on the lame and disappointing scale. Allow me to throw in the second half of the movie where the laughs die out and it becomes a special effects extravaganza.

I’ll compare "Hancock" to a nice three-day weekend to celebrate a holiday, such as the past one. You look forward to it coming  and when it finally arrives, the first day is great and then the remaining days bite. You can get some enjoyment out of them, but ultimately you want to go back to the first day when it was awesome.

I gave this film a C+.

Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.

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