This movie seemed like such a no-brainer. By 2008, we'd seen superhero flick after superhero flick that all followed the same basic formulas; a movie about a realistic, gruff, drunk superhero who didn't really give a shit about being a superhero seemed like natural and necessary commentary on the genre. Every ingredient for this movie seemed perfect. Will Smith? He's one of the biggest stars on the planet! Jason Bateman as the PR guy tasked with improving Hancock's image? What an awesome pairing! Directed by Peter Berg? He created Friday Night Lights, so I will never stop loving him. $150 million budget? That's so much money!
At no point did this movie know what it wanted to be. Look at the Wikipedia entry about it; they call it an "American superhero action comedy-drama film." That's too many descriptors. Tooooo many, especially for a movie that can and should be incredibly straightforward.
I would have loved Hancock as a comedy about a gruff superhero and the nerdy PR guy who was trying to straighten him out. Wacky! I also would have loved it as a gritty, realistic take on superheroes; what happens when you get a Superman without any of the morals or inner drive to do good? That would have been interesting. Instead we got a movie that was sometimes both but mostly neither. There were moments of goofy slapstick ...