Will Smith is Hancock, a skid-row superman whose own peculiar brand of kryptonite is a bottle of bourbon. While performing well-intentioned feats of derring-do he leaves the scene so trashed the good people of LA reason that any benefit is outweighed by higher insurance premiums. Step forward PR man Jason Bateman, who attempts to re-brand Hancock and show his vulnerable side. Top-notch special effects and the always-watchable Smith prove an enticing mix.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a bourbon-swigging bum with three days stubble, superhuman powers and anger management issues.
From Spider-Man to Batman, most unnaturally gifted guardians of what is good and honest acknowledge that with great power comes great responsibility.
Well, Hancock (Smith) has sure got the power...but he ain't responsible in the slightest, creating a car crash out of every crisis and a destruction derby out of every drama.
He's the kind of superhero who flies headfirst into a seagull while gamely hanging onto a bottle of whiskey as he tracks an SUV-full of ne'r do wells along the freeway. And then totals the LAPD's patrol car fleet.
However, his misfortunes change when he rescues decent PR man Jason Bateman (there is such a thing?) from the path of an approaching train...and the grateful would-be victim invites him to dinner.
Taking him under his wing, Bateman's Ray Embrey sets about changing the public perception of Hancock, re-branding him a clean-living law enforcer whose happy to attend AA sessions with the same crimmos he banged up.
But there is a problem. The groomed and counselled Hancock finds himself increasingly drawn to Ray's glamorous wife Mary (Theron) while also becoming the target of Eddie Marsan's crazed one-armed crime lord.
All superheroes go through bad patches, so it's quite an appealing premise to find one public defender for whom life as a career lush is further discoloured by a fractious relationship with the public he is defending.
However, when Hancock steps back onto the straight and narrow the novelty that made his character so grimily appealing wears off, leaving us with yet another superhero gamely battling his demons.
Happily, though, the action sequences are what you might expect from Peter Berg, director of The Kingdom, and Bateman puts in a winning performance as the brightly unsuspecting Ray.