So far, there is little to suggest that Peter Berg will be a respected filmmaker when filmatic judgement day is here. He made his debut with the stinker Very Bad Things in 1998, and ten years later, he returns to ruin the good premise of Hancock with his poor craftmanship and lack of subtlety. What could have been one of the best superhero films in a long time (and really stepped out of the conventional realm which have hampered this sub-genre lately), instead becomes a muddled and badly handled film. Mediocre special effects, action scenes which are overdone and inconsiderate from the point of view of both characters and cinema audiences, and a complete disregard for something as crucial as character motivation. Why would Hancock and his long-lost friend fight it out in the middle of the city with hundreds of witnesses and (arguably) casualties? Naturally so that the filmmakers would have an excuse to exhibit more of their unimpressive CGI trickery.
The concept is appealing and the story is not bad either. The script has the longer lines intact, and could have been brilliant with a tad more creativity in the descriptive segments. Will Smith is a great choice in the lead as well, but he is largely wasted by the director who isn't able to extract the sympathy and emotion which made Smith's performance in a film like I Am Legend so effective. Hancock does remain interesting throughout, and there are well-handled interpersonal segments, many of which involve Jason Bateman, but the promise of what could have been remains the film's biggest asset, and we're left with the editor's job: cutting out the worst scenes so that we can enjoy the scenes which in all fairness are great fun.