Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 13+
Has action, heart, but superhero is an alcoholic.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although kids will definitely be interested in seeing this Will Smith superhero movie (thanks to both his presence and a massive marketing campaign), a definite tragic streak runs through it. That, along with the movie's other themes -- mortality, the meaning of love -- may prove too mature for young kids and tweens. There's also plenty of swearing (including an "F" word) and a fair amount of action/fantasy violence, including gunfire, cut-off hands, and Hancock himself yelling at kids and destroying buildings. That said, the movie also has a lot of heart (plus some good Will Smith comic moments) and isn't just your average popcorn flick. An unrated version of this DVD is available and contains a sex scene and some other material that do not appear in the original.
- Families can talk about why kids want to see this movie -- is it because of the story, or because of all the hype?
- Discuss why Hancock is so distant and angry in the beginning of the movie. How are both Hancock the character and Hancock the movie different from and similar to other cinematic superheroes?
- What would you say the movie's messages are?
- How does Hancock change over the course of the film? What do he and Ray teach each other?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Some mixed messages. There are many depictions of criminal behavior, but they're almost always foiled by Hancock and others, so it shows that ultimately crime does not pay.
Positive role models: There are both positive and negative role models here. Hancock isn't an entirely sympathetic hero. In fact, he's pretty tragic and troubled, and his presence troubles others. He's sometimes disrespectful of women, he scares children, and he shows little concern to everybody else. But he eventually comes around and is softened considerably by meeting a good guy who's so good that he's almost saintly.
What to watch for
Violence: Lots of fantasy/superhero action. Hancock is a pretty violent superhero. He yells at kids, destroys buildings and other things while he's performing good deeds, and manhandles criminals (one scene has him shoving a man's head into an unusual spot). He even takes on a young bully. Meanwhile, the official bad guys wield guns (shooting them frequently) and terrorize the citizens of Los Angeles on the freeway, during a bank holdup, in a liquor store robbery, etc. One criminal gets both of his hands cut off at different times; one scene shows it happening, quickly. He and his goons attack the main character.
Sexy stuff: A man kisses a woman who's married to someone else; lots of sexual tension between them, but no nudity/action.
Language: Salty language runs the gamut, from "hell" and "bitch" to "s--t" and "asshole" -- and finally "f--k" (but since it's PG-13, use is limited).
Consumerism: Some labels/brands, including Ray-Bans, Dewars, Dodge, and Dunkin Donuts. Ray is a PR executive, and branding is his game.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Hancock is an alcoholic -- and a mean one at that -- who often flies drunk. Some social drinking.