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Film / Hancock

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"Call me an asshole... one more time."
"You have a calling. You're a hero, Hancock. You're going to be miserable the rest of your life until you accept that. Trust me."
Ray Embrey

Hancock is a 2008 film directed by Peter Berg and co-written by Vince Gilligan. It serves as a Deconstructive Parody of the superhero genre, following a superpowered individual who very much doesn't fit the standard heroic archetype.

Set in Los Angeles, the film follows the titular Hancock (Will Smith), a homeless, alcoholic jerkass who happens to be an invincible Flying Brick. While he does catch criminals, the city's patience with him has completely run out — his heroics often resemble drunken rampages more than anything, frequently inflicting massive property damage and causing endless inconveniences. Unfortunately, even with public opinion so arrayed against him, there's nothing anyone can really do to stop him.

Enter Ray (Jason Bateman), an idealistic marketing executive whose life Hancock saves. Seeing something more in the would-be hero, Ray comes up with a plan to reinvent his image into that of a proper crimefighter. In the process, Hancock opens up about his Mysterious Past and the reasons for his behavior, slowly bonding with Ray and his wife, Mary (Charlize Theron). But every hero has a weakness, and for Hancock to learn what his is, he'll have to delve into his forgotten past...

The film's name is a case of title dissonance for British viewers of a certain age, who irrevocably associate the name with Tony Hancock, of Hancock's Half Hour Fame. Follow the link for his Creator page. The actual reference, for those not well-versed in American history, is to John Hancock, who famously signed the American Declaration of Independence with a much larger signature than the other signers, leading to "Hancock" becoming an idiomatic synonym for "signature."

Hancock contains examples of:

  • 100% Heroism Rating: What Ray hopes to achieve for Hancock. By the third act, he appears to have obtained it— as he and Mary argue after a "small" scuffle that ruined a city street, the onlooking crowd applauds Hancock based on his (much improved) reputation alone.
  • Animal Motifs: Hancock often finds himself surrounded by subtle or prominent imagery of an Eagle, waking up on a bench with an eagle painted on it, wearing a hat bearing a logo of an eagle on the front, scrawling eagles on the walls of his cell, wearing a necklace with an eagle pendant, etc. Ray seems to have noticed this recurring motif and purposely put an Eagle on Hancock's brand new suit as his symbol. His reintroduction to the public has him walk past a prominent metal statue of one, he appears to have a drawing of a bird in his trailer, and finally, Hancock is shown watching over New York whilst sitting next to one.
  • Anti-Hero: Hancock is this at the start of the film - a drunken, sexist, homophobic, politically incorrect Jerkass who cares nothing for collateral damage and only saves people out of some strange need. He grows out of it with Ray's help.
  • Arc Symbol: Ray's "All Heart" logo, which he hopes to convince big corporations use as brand recognition, to indicate the amount of charity work they do. They laugh him out of the room until the ending, when Hancock puts the All Heart logo on the near side of the moon.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Red, the ringleader of the bank robbery halfway through the film, tries to coerce Hancock into helping him with a spring-loaded "dead-man's switch". Hancock's solution, cut his hand off and keep it closed around the detonator. At the climax, he's holding a gun to a depowered Hancock, and Ray chops his other hand off with an ax before hitting him in the head with it, though it's hard to tell whether he struck with the blade or the flat to knock him out.
  • Artistic Licence Medicine: The two thugs, one whose head Hancock shoves up the others rectum. While one merely suffered a neck injury, the other seemed to get off without any apparent intestinal ruptures that should have done significant damage. Needless to say, they both got really lucky.
  • Artistic License – Physics: After becoming annoyed at a kid that keeps calling him an asshole, Hancock suddenly snatches the kid up and hurls him thousands of feet into the air in the blink of an eye. The acceleration from this act would immediately tear your body apart, and even if it didn't, the internal trauma would immediately destroy all of your internal organs, including your brain. Likewise for the deceleration when he catches the kid a moment later.
  • Ass Shove: Hancock's favorite threat is to shove someone's head up someone else's ass (including shoving it up his own ass). Later, he makes good on that threat.
  • Badass Bookworm: Kenneth "Red" Parker Jr. He's mentioned in a news report as a former Stanford University psychology professor who created a large underground network using psychological persuasion to create criminals.
  • Berserk Button: Call Hancock an asshole. One. More. Time. Mary also has one: she doesn't like it when someone calls her crazy, or even a synonym of that word (cuckoo).
  • Big Applesauce: Hancock chooses to set up his new life in New York after leaving Mary alone in L.A.
  • Big Bad: Red. He's actually pretty serious and is largely responsible for the film's shift in tone later on.
  • Bittersweet Ending: It's downplayed on the "bitter" part. Hancock and Mary are supposedly "drawn to one another" but do not hook up at the end. She's Happily Married and in love and he's doing what he loves doing, and they show no signs of actually wanting to hook up (although the two are still technically married).
  • Black Comedy: The first act is about the gruesome injuries and vulgarities that Hancock engages in, and how this is played for laughs. The original scripts continued this way, but the addition of the second plot line takes it in a different direction.
  • Blatant Lies: Hancock's excuse for "coming in hot" when he landed in the street.
    Hancock: That was already like that when I got here.
    Ray: I live here... I know what the street looks like.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Mary had to push Hancock away so he would not die because they are vulnerable when together.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Averted. Mary gives this claim as an excuse to Hancock why things are awkward between the two exes. Turns out they're not related at all.
    Hancock What are we then?
    Mary: We're brother and sister.
    Hancock: No! That is a lie. Besides, A brother would not kiss a sister like you kissed me!
  • Brought Down to Normal: Hancock and other immortals like him suffer from this when they come into contact with their immortal mate. The loss of their powers allows them to decide to live a mundane mortal life and eventually die. All but Hancock and Mary have chosen this fate and died before the start of the film. Mary implies that they have made several attempts at this in the past, but Hancock is addicted to helping people, and they constantly end up apart so that he can resume being a hero.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Michel and Red both call Hancock an asshole, and even after Hancock says that's his Berserk Button, they continue to press said button anyway, despite knowing who Hancock is and his sunny disposition, at least to an extent. Needless to say, they get their asses handed to them for it.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: In this case a bank full of innocents held hostage by the robbers. Hancock saving them without loss of life or major property damage is precisely when his public image improves.
  • Calculator Spelling: While Hancock is buying booze at the liquor store, the cashier is being robbed, with one armed thug crouched below the counter. In a desperate effort to call discretely for help, the cashier rings up Hancock's purchases at $91.10, which Hancock calls "highway robbery." The cashier smartly points to the display, obscuring the zero with one finger, showing only 91.1. Though an alcoholic jerkass at this point, Hancock is still savvy enough to get the message: call 9-1-1. However, Hancock supplies aid his way, woe betide the robbers.
  • The Cameo: Mike Epps only appears in The Stinger as a New York criminal who is stopped by Hancock.
  • Cardboard Prison: Normal prisons have no hope of holding Hancock. He pulls a steel door off its hinges when he gets annoyed and flies over the fence to pick up a lost basketball. The fact that he's willing to stay of his own accord rather than actually escape is part of his Character Development.
  • Car Fu: Mary smacks Hancock with a truck. It's set off by the aforementioned Berserk Button.
  • Catchphrase:
    • When Hancock is still struggling to get the hang of getting people to like him, he's prone to saying "Good job" to anyone without much regard to context.
    • His dares for someone to "Call [him] a asshole... one more time..." could be considered one.
  • Caught Up in a Robbery: Hancock heads to a liquor store to drown his sorrows, fed up with trying to be a superhero. He's unaware at the time that two armed thugs are robbing the place: one ambles along an aisle like a shopper, the other is crouching behind the counter. The shopkeeper manages to discretely signal his distress to Hancock, who makes a quick assessment of the situation, then makes very short work of the criminals. He ends up taking two bullets to the stomach, which typically isn't a problem as he's Nigh-Invulnerable, but as the blood pours from his wounds, he quickly learns he's no longer super durable, kicking off the film's final act.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Remember the goofy first half of the movie where Will Smith is a Jerkass superhero? That goes away. See Feet-First Introduction below for quite possibly the exact moment when the tone changes.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: TV news about Hancock are being aired whenever a TV is switched on.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Most of the movie revolves around Hancock cleaning up his act.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: The citizens complain about collateral damage because Hancock is everything but subtle in his heroics. It isn't until Hancock's absence that some of them learn to appreciate him. In fairness, he does destroy lots of things unnecessarily, mostly since he's constantly drunk at the start. He even goes to jail for this (with his consent).
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Deconstructed. Hancock starts out as a pretty clear Corrupted Character Copy of Superman, a lazy bum who drinks too much and causes needless collateral damage with his heroics. As he's taken in by a PR man who wants to help clean up his image, it's revealed Hancock has a pretty good Freudian Excuse for his behavior, having come to genuinely believe he's unworthy of affection. Getting over these issues and embracing his potential to be the Big Good is the point of the film and Hancock's own Character Development.
  • Creator Cameo: Akiva Goldsman and Michael Mann, two of the movie's producers, are among the executives Ray pitches All Heart to.
  • Crooks Are Better Armed: Cops wielding standard-issue handguns plus a few rifles are pinned down by a group of bank robbers wearing body armor and armed with machine guns and Bottomless Magazines. Hancock shows up in order to pull the two pinned-down cops to safety, then catch the robbers.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Hancock's most frequent threat to everybody is to shove their head up people's asses. Since he's a superhero, he can, and in one scene does make good on that threat.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often by Hancock and Ray; it's a feedback loop such as this one. Ray shows Hancock a video of him hurling Walter the whale back into the ocean... on top of a Greenpeace boat:
    Hancock: (Scoffs) I don't even remember that...
    Ray: ...Greenpeace does. Walter does.
  • Death by Childbirth: Ray's first wife, which is why he's married to Mary now.
  • Deface of the Moon: Hancock carves the All Heart logo onto the moon as a thank you to Ray.
  • Deconstruction: Of superheroes, showing collateral damage and bad publicity when they don't act like The Cape. The movie does this in a fun way for the first half of the movie.
  • Destructive Savior: The movie bases a big part of its plot in both deconstructing and making fun of this. Hancock breaks a lot of stuff while chasing bad guys and tends to inadvertently cause trouble whenever he tries to help. Because of this, most people hate him, and he has to learn to clean his act before he can get any appreciation.
  • Destructo-Nookie: In one of the deleted scenes, when a random girl has sex with Hancock, it ended with his sperm emissions shooting off as fast and durable as high caliber bullets through the roof of his trailer. Luckily he got the girl off of him before the big climax. That's why Hancock doesn't have sex.
  • Determinator: Hancock proves to be one after he loses his powers and soldiers on anyway.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Despite being literally made for each other due to the in-universe superpowered immortals being bonded in pairs, Hancock and Mary are quite happy to stay on opposite sides of the United States, just so their respective immortal lives can continue.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The boy who wakes Hancock up in the prologue, and calls him asshole.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Hancock shoving people's heads up asses for annoying him.
    • Rather than tell Hancock what was going on after they first meet, Mary flings him out of her house and into the street after they share a kiss. Justified-see Brought Down to Normal above.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Mary to Hancock. They were created as a pair. They even have similar trigger words.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: People just don't know when to stop taunting Hancock, who has been explictly compared to a greek god.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Yes, Hancock causes a lot of collateral damage but he also halts crime and saves lives and yet the people hate him because he's not nice about it.
  • Eagle Land: The television host who proclaims that Hancock is not as strong as the US Constitution.
  • Eternal Love: Hancock and Mary are soulmates, made for each other, and have been in a relationship for hundreds of years. They decide to stay apart at the end though, or both will die, and Mary has moved on to Ray in any case since parting with Hancock.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Mary, after Hancock finds out that she's a super being like he is, is introduced as a dark action girl with a focus on her combat stilettos as she leaves her car when arriving at Hancock's trailer.
  • Fighting Back Is Wrong: When Hancock has dinner with Ray and his family, Ray's son Aaron talks about being bullied by a neighborhood kid. Ray's teaching him conflict mediation skills, but Hancock advises a Groin Attack which sends Mary through the roof. Ray later gets understandably mad at Hancock for throwing the bully about a mile into the air for calling him an asshole.
  • Flying Brick: Hancock can fly and is completely invulnerable, to the point that even his facial hair is too tough for razors. He shaves using his fingernails. This is Super Strength taken to great levels. Hancock would have to exert 33 and a third million Newtons to stop that train.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are several hints towards the reveals of Mary having powers and her near-fatal connection to Hancock.
      • Every time Hancock sees the Embreys, Mary always insists that Hancock leave immediately. She knows about the power weakening that results from her and him being together.
      • She also tends to watch plenty of news. Because she has powers, yet still wants to live a normal life with Ray. So, she was checking on Hancock to see if he was still saving people.
      • In prison, Hancock misses a faraway basketball shot, something he could do some scenes before. Later, Mary notices that Hancock has bruises on his hands, despite his Nigh-Invulnerability. As he's seeing Ray and his family more often, his powers are weakening due to Mary being in his presence.
    • One of the TV programs has someone insisting that Hancock should move to New York. He does so in the end.
  • French Jerk: Michel will not stop calling people "asshole" or "la petite asshole", even when asked nicely.
  • Freudian Excuse: Hancock is an asshole because when he woke up in the hospital with amnesia he learned that he apparently had no ties to anyone and that he had to have been some kind of ass to not know a single person who cared about his apparent predicament. He was then alone for eighty years. No wonder he's messed up.
  • Genre Shift: It goes from a Black Comedy (Act 1) to a Buddy Film (Act 2) to a Drama (Act 3).
  • Good is Not Nice: Hancock; in the beginning, he's rude, lecherous, drunk, and cares next-to-nothing for public safety and property damage when he goes after crooks.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
  • Groin Attack: Hancock breaks free from a choke hold through a groin shot in the final fight. He has to resort to these tactics because he's been depowered.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: And how. One of the movie's most infamous qualities. Almost exactly halfway through the movie, right when it seems like Hancock is about to royally screw up his Ray-assisted PR recovery by falling in love with Ray's wife Mary, instead she grabs him and hurls him through the wall. That's right, she's got superpowers too, and you can kiss the previous plot goodbye. Hancock's new reputation remains intact for the rest of the film, and the plot instead delves into the nature of Hancock's powers, his mysterious fascination with Mary, and his long-forgotten past.
  • Hero Insurance: Subverted. Hancock's talent for causing collateral damage is wearing thin on the public at the start of the film, and he's been sued multiple times over it (not that he shows up to court). In a bid to improve his public image, he even voluntarily serves a brief prison sentence as a result of charges against him for this.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The premise is Hancock is a hero whose public hates him. Ray intends to fix this by giving him 100% Heroism Rating: "Crowds should cheer when you fly by. Boys should beg for your autograph. People should love you. They really should." Instead, they boo him. He turns it around with Ray's help.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: The first step in Ray's plan to fix Hancock's bad publicity is to "remind them that they need you."
  • Hook Hand: Red replaced his hand with a hook because Hancock cuts his original one off to get around the deadman switch.
  • Identity Amnesia: Decades prior to the film, Hancock was attacked, along with his wife, by a group of racists (for being a black man romantically involved with a white woman); the injury sustained to his skull erased any memory of who he was.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Michel the French bully, and Red, the Big Bad, both call Hancock an asshole, and even after Hancock says that's his Berserk Button, they continue to press said button anyway, despite knowing who Hancock is and his sunny disposition, at least to an extent. Needless to say, they get their asses handed to them for it.
    • Even more so for the crooks in jail - they're angry because he put them there, which means they all know firsthand what he can do. Yes, by all means, go out of your way to piss him off.
    • How does Mary try to force Hancock to stay away from her and Ray? By using her powers without explaining herself at all. And this right after he talked about how he is the only one of his kind and doesn't fully know how he has powers. No wonder Hancock starts pestering her for information.
  • Ignored Vital News Reports: At the convenience store, Hancock doesn't seem to take notice of the crucial news about Kenneth Parker Jr.'s prison break.
  • Implacable Man: In the eyes of the criminals of LA, Hancock is definitely one of these. He can fly, shrug off bullets and anti-tank fire as though they were bug bites, and is strong enough to rip someone's hand off; if he wants to catch you, nothing you have is going to stop him. And to make matters worse, he's immortal.
  • Impossible Pickle Jar: Mary asks her husband to open a jar for her, to hide the fact she has super-strength like Hancock.
  • Improvised Weapon: When Hancock busts a robber at a convenience store, he subdues the robber by throwing a Zagnut chocolate bar at full force.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Hancock grabs a beached whale by the tail and throws it back into the ocean where it hits a boat and capsizes it. This is just one of many incidents on YouTube that Ray found of Hancock's "exploits."
  • In Prison with the Rogues: After Hancock accepts how irresponsible he's been, doing heroics under the influence of alcohol and is put in prison as part of his rehabilitation. While there he meets up with all of the criminals he put behind bars and they all crowd around him. But turns out it's a very bad idea to piss off an immoral Superman. Hancock warns one thug that this will end with his head going up another guy's ass. The guy doesn't listen and Hancock keeps his promise.
  • Institutional Apparel: Orange jumpsuits in prison.
  • Jerkass:
    • Hancock is, initially, a rude, crude, boozing asshole.
    • Mary is also this, especially while she unloads 3,000 years of repressed anger in the street fight with Hancock, when he's repeatedly and honestly told her he doesn't remember anything about his former life.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Whenever Hancock and Mary are close to each other, they become vulnerable.
  • Large Ham: Red, sometimes.
  • Last of His Kind: Hancock believes himself to be the only one of his kind. In fact, he doesn't think there were any others like him. There Is Another - Mary - but all the others died out.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The DVD cover has Charlize Theron equally Billed Above the Title and pictured alongisde Will Smith in her Dark Action Girl garb.
    • Even the covers that don't show her have her name next to Will Smith's. This is even on at least one version of the poster. Now, it doesn't tell you everything, but for most of the whole first half you're supposed to think it's no more complicated than "Jerk hero and PR guy trying to make him nicer and more appreciated." Charlize's character is made to look quite unimportant in her first several scenes. Of course, it's not like that's who you get to play someone who isn't important.
  • Living Legend: Everyone knows who Hancock is. They know he's perfectly willing to help. They just don't like him very much, because his "help" tends to be very destructive.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Hancock and Mary decide to split permanently because they enjoy their immortality. Hancock, for instance, wants to be a super hero forever.
  • Magic Pants: Hancock wears normal clothes and regularly flies into the pavement. He's even slammed by a train at one point but his clothes never get shredded. It's averted in a YouTube video Ray shows him in which what's left of his clothes are barely there after putting out an apartment fire.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Hancock and Mary's troubles throughout history are implied to be a result of their races.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: In a deleted scene, Hancock warns a woman about this before having sex with her. At the last minute, he shoves her off him and his sperm shoot out through the roof.
  • Missing Mom: Ray's first wife died while giving birth to his son.
  • Morality Pet: Ray's son, for Hancock.. who's noticeably nicer to him than to anybody else even before he starts turning his image around. It helps that Aaron is an unabashed Hancock fan.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: After the shooting at the shop, it takes Hancock a couple of seconds to notice that he received two gut shots. Then he sinks down. It's not mortal as in fatal, but it demonstrates that Hancock has become mortal.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Invoked by Ray who gives Hancock a black leather suit to make him more professional. "I ain't wearing that", Hancock says, but Ray eventually convinces him to.
  • Mundane Utility: Hancock uses his super strength (combined with either enhanced marksmanship or just a damn good jump shot) to make some absurdly long jumpers on the prison's basketball court.
  • Name Amnesia: In his backstory, Hancock lost his memory and with it, his name. He eventually adopted the name "Hancock" after someone asked for his signature (his "John Hancock") and assumed it was his name.
  • Nice Guy: Ray is the first person to ever show sincere gratitude for having his life saved by Hancock, and goes out of his way to treat him with respect and consideration, on top of wanting to help him improve his reputation.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Hancock is about to abandon prison and heads for the door when Ray calls him out ("You're being a coward!") which makes Hancock change his mind.
  • Not Hyperbole: While he may or may not actually be serious when making the threat, when Hancock threatens to shove someone's head up someone else's posterior, he really can do it, and will if pushed too far.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Mary whistles as she goes to fetch eggs from the fridge, which is in the parking lot outside her home, after she threw it (along with the titular character) through her wall upon revealing her powers to him.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Hancock and Mary lose their powers if they stay together. This was the reason for every other being like them dying out.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Obviously exaggerated; the aforementioned French kid gets thrown maybe a mile up into the air and then caught maybe four feet from the ground without any apparent ill effects other than a bruised ego and physical shock.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Ray is one of the only people in the Hancock-verse who recognizes that it's not a good idea to piss Hancock off.
      Mary: Did he just take the whiskey bottle to the bathroom?
      Ray: Do you want him to kill us all?
    • Ray subverts this trope when he and Hancock get into an argument at the prison in which Hancock is being held. He calls Hancock a coward and even stands his ground when Hancock is clearly ready to retaliate physically.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: No idea where on earth Eddie Marsan's villain is supposed to be from. He's sometimes English, sometimes Southern US, and sometimes vaguely... Irish?
  • Physical God: Hancock and Mary are implied to be this. They're certainly powerful enough and have at many times in history been dubbed and worshiped as gods.
  • Politically Correct History: Averted. Hancock is assaulted in his weakened state by bigots in 1931 Florida because he's with a white woman. That's also the probable motive of the 1850 incident.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Mary has had 80 years to avoid learning anything. It's one thing to be displeased about the past she and Hancock share, but refraining from telling him about it in his amnesic state, then threatening him only compound the problems and ultimately end up revealing her secret to Ray.
  • The Power of Love: As above, the supermen and women are designed in pairs that are drawn to each other, and according to Theron's character, being close to one another causes them to lose their powers so they can grow old and die together. However, Hancock's desire to continue being a hero even at the expense of their life together was, according to Mary, a failsafe, so that there would always be somebody to watch over humanity. An attack while the two are depowered leads to Hancock becoming amnesiac, allowing Mary to leave and eventually meet Ray about eighty years later.
  • Quiet Cry for Help: A liquor store owner is being robbed at gunpoint when Hancock strolls in to buy two large bottles of booze. The owner rings up the sale as $91.10, which Hancock declares outrageous. The owner points to the LED display ostensibly to verify the price, but with one finger over the zero so that only "91.1" is visible. Hancock gets the hint, and unsubtly corrects the problem.
  • Racial Face Blindness: Upon lifting the car that's chased by the police at the beginning, Hancock says "Kon'nichiwa!" to the Vietnamese thugs in it. One of them is quick to respond that they aren't Japanese.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Hancock and Mary are several thousand years old, but look forty at most.
  • The Real Heroes: Ray tries to use this as part of Hancock's PR rehabilitation. Ray tells Hancock to say "good job" whenever he arrives to help police. Hancock asks "if they're doing a good job, why do I need to show up?" Ray responds with snark about how he, Hancock, is Immune to Bullets and they are not so they are the ones risking their lives. It is played around with in Hancock's first heroic act after his PR, where after saying "good job" over and over, the cops tell this to him for having saved one of them and the civilians.
  • Rescue Introduction: When Hancock rescues Ray, it starts their partnership.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Mary's displeased expression when Hancock shows up at hers and Ray's home seems to be annoyance because she doesn't want this jerkass around her family. His Held Gaze when he sees her appears to be that of a man reacting to the sight of a beautiful woman. It turns out to be because of their shared history—she knows he's found her again and that the whole cycle is going to start again, whereas he is clearly trying to remember her.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Where did Hancock and Mary's kind come from?
  • Rubber Orifice: When Hancock threatens to shove your head into someone's ass, he means it. There's no explanation on how can one prisoner be neck down in another's rear and still be alive even when it's shown.
  • Rule of Funny: The prison inmates Ass Shove scene and the scene where Hancock throws a kid really high into the air should have killed them, but then it wouldn't be funny if it did.
  • Screw Destiny: "People get to choose!"
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: A significant part of Hancock's attempt to clean up his act is to convince the public that he doesn't live by this trope and that they can hold him accountable for his actions by willingly serving time in prison, for instance, until he's called back in to help.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The deleted sex scene in Hancock's trailer home between Hancock and a random girl who's apparently turned on by superhumans. As they're about to get it on, the trailer violently rocks back and fourth until right before Hancock "reaches the mountaintop," (as he puts it) when he knocks the girl onto the couch and ejaculates three powerful shots through the roof.
  • Shaming the Mob: When a crowd jeers Hancock for causing massive collateral damage to save Ray, Ray chews them out for it and thanks Hancock instead.
  • Shooting Superman: Everyone in the city knows Hancock is Immune to Bullets. This doesn't stop them from trying to shoot him, nor from trying to beat him up, and they always have the nerve to act astonished when it doesn't work, shortly before being obliterated.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A crook in New York City references Wolverine when describing Hancock's costume, as it looks like the X-Men's black suits.
    • Post-rehab Hancock may remind some of too-many-directives RoboCop in the second movie.
    • In the opening sequence, Hancock flies into a flock of birds, and then a plane. Ray also at one point asks if Hancock arrived on Earth via meteor.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Charlize Theron. The DVD previews didn't do it, and it went into Trailers Always Spoil.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The film starts with Ray at the idealistic end (All Heart Symbol), and Hancock at the cynical end (don't care about anything or anyone). The movie ends up closer to center but still tilted toward idealism (i.e. Hancock is still a pro-bono superhero but not a boy scout).
  • Smug Super: Hancock has this attitude sometimes, but Mary gets it pretty bad for their fight. It helps they were Godlike, and called Gods since the beginning of time.
    Hancock: You and I, we're the same.
    Mary: No, I'm stronger.
    Hancock: Really?
    Mary: (Smugly) Oh yeah.
  • Stealth Pun: Ray meets Mary in the supermarket.
  • The Stinger: A scene during the end credits with a NY crook triggering Hancock's Berserk Button.
  • Storefront Television Display: Early on, the titular hero learns of a freeway police chase scene from watching the news on a screen in a store front.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: The hostages during the bank robbery have one that is connected to the robber's dead-man switch. Hancock resolves this in his customary brutal fashion.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: Hancock likes to put eagles on his clothes.
  • Tempting Fate: Michel, when a fully-grown man who is both twice your size and has literal superpowers dares you to call him an "asshole" again, you probably shouldn't do it. Granted, he's a ten-year-old boy and a bully to boot, so he's probably not the sharpest tool in the box to begin with.
  • There Can Be Only One: Mostly inverted, the supers are in pairs who weaken each other if they get close enough, but the last two never quite get together.
  • There Is Another: Mary is a being like Hancock.
  • Think Nothing of It: What Hancock does not say it but he means it; he never asks for anything in response to his heroism. The people think a lot of it, and it's the bad stuff that they think of.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • All the criminals and most of the citizens are essentially suicidal. The titular superhero Hancock is a Jerkass Flying Brick who can and will use his powers to frighten, humiliate, or possibly mutilate anyone who remotely displeases him. He's also immune to harm. Despite this, everyone, save Ray, will either insult him, try to provoke him, or shoot him, despite the fact it should be obvious he will cause them serious harm in return.
    • Ray, towards the beginning of the film, drives his car onto a level crossing when it is obvious that there's heavy traffic immediately in front of him. Of course his car gets trapped when the train comes along.
    • The (former) prisoners who assault Hancock at the hospital. Sure he can be hurt now because he's turning mortal, but he still has Super Strength and there is no way they could have known he'd be vulnerable. note  Although in this instance, it could be chalked up to the prisoners going mad with revenge, as well as Red's (who was proven to be a crazed sociopath to begin with) manipulation.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Later trailers and the DVD cover all spoil the twist that there's another superhuman.
  • Trainstopping: Hancock saves Ray by stopping a freight train from hitting his car. He seriously damages the front of the train and knocks it off the rails, but nobody onboard was seriously injured.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The crooks in prison pick a fight with a superhero. They should know better.
  • The Unfair Sex: Averted in this case. Hancock calls Mary out for how poorly she handled his amnesia.
  • Unflinching Walk: When Hancock shows up to help the police with the bank robbery, he goes on one of these, walking through a hail of bullets and gun-launched grenades. The rifle fire only causes him to dust off his new superhero outfit, while he deflects the grenade into an unattended car with his bare hand.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Averted. While other citizens yell at Hancock for derailing the train, and Ray himself does agree that he could have just lifted the car up into the air, Ray is nonetheless thankful towards Hancock for saving his life.
  • Untrusting Community: The population of Los Angeles are belligerent and ungrateful, berating Hancock for his methods of stopping crime and saving people (which costs the city millions and often trashes some poor sod's day). He later earns their trust by voluntarily doing time in prison for destroying so much property and becoming a less destructive hero.
  • Vetinari Job Security: Invoked, as part of Ray's plan to improve Hancock's image. Hancock publicly serves time in jail to atone for past incidents, which allows the crime rate to increase since the criminals no longer have to worry about a superhero stopping them - combined with some improvements to Hancock's moral character, this leads the public to want him back once a bank robbery occurs and the police are outgunned.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Hancock's only weakness? His intended mate. Any attempt to live a loving, fulfilling life with his wife of 3,000 years will cause them to both become mortal in order to die together. Hancock has a hero complex to save people, which attracts bad guys who attack them in their weakened state. They argue, he leaves, they meet again and the whole cycle starts again.
  • Weather Manipulation: When Hancock pisses Mary off, she creates a hurricane and several tornadoes.
  • Wham Shot: When a drunken Hancock tries to kiss Mary, she grabs him and (literally) throws him out of the house without breaking a sweat. This reveals to the audience that Mary is a superpowered being like him.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Perks: Hancock had this image in the public eye until Ray taught him how to make a good enough impression to make people realize that he genuinely was a superhero.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: Inverted. When Mary and Hancock are around each other for long periods of time, they become more like normal humans. When they spend time apart again, the effect is reversed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Hancock is criticized by many, many people for his sloppy and destructive heroics.
  • Where da White Women At?: This trope is played with. Hancock and Mary have been together for centuries in a mixed marriage. In fact, Hancock's amnesia is a result of being assaulted by bigots because he was with a white woman in pre-Civil Rights era Florida. The Playing with a Trope part comes in because Hancock and Mary are both superheroes/immortals, so it's Like Goes with Like, and they never mention race.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: This is a reason why there's no one else like Hancock: superheroes were made in pairs, and when they fell in love, they become mortal to live, have kids, and die together - and everyone but Hancock and Mary found peace.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Played with. The 10-year-old French kid who bullies Ray's son is stupid enough to repeatedly call Hancock an asshole. Hancock tosses him at least a mile in the air in retaliation, but catches him on the way down so he's not seriously hurt (just scared shitless). Ray is visibly shaken, but not many viewers cared. Averted with the little boy at the beginning of the film who calls him an asshole.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: This is Red's reaction when Ray chops off the former's other hand with an axe.
    "YOU DIDN'T!"

"You're gonna change the world."


Video Example(s):



Hancock grabs a beached whale by the tail and throws it back into the ocean where it hits a boat and capsizes it. This is just one of many incidents on YouTube that Ray found of Hancock's "exploits."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstantHumiliationJustAddYouTube

Media sources: