On Comics: Did A.O. Scott Just Ruin 'Hancock' for Everyone?


In his review of the Will Smith superhero movie "Hancock," CNN's Tom Charity described a final plot twist coming "so far out of left field you would need a crystal ball to see it coming." Like most critics, he refrained from explicitly identifying the twist, adding only that "it doesn't work, not in the short term and not in the big picture either. It's as if we've been whisked from one kind of movie – a brisk, superficial but entertaining high-concept comedy – and into the theater next door, where they're showing some sort of tragic 'X-Men' knockoff."

I'm looking at you, Scott.

And then today, in his lead review of "Hellboy 2," New York Times chief film critic A.O. Scott pretty much let all the marbles spill. At least he waited for the third sentence!

"Lately," Scott writes, "we have seen plenty of big, asphalt-smashing street battles between hero and nemesis — Tim Roth and Edward Norton, hopped up on military growth hormones, hurling cars across Harlem in “The Incredible Hulk”; Charlize Theron and Will Smith enacting some kind of meteorological superhero S & M in “Hancock” — but nothing quite like the scene in which Ron Perlman’s Hellboy, a baby in one hand and an oversize gun in the other, mixes it up with a giant, angry plant."

The key here, of course, is that lovely little clause: "Charlize Theron and Will Smith enacting some kind of meteorological superhero S & M" Yeah, OK, most comix fans – despite Charity's argument that NO ONE would see that shit coming – guessed how the movie wrapped up. And yeah, the spoilers have been floating across the web for days. And! I'm pretty sure Scott would say he was sort of mysterious about the whole thing; that he didn't really spoil anything at all.

But c'mon A.O.! Leave the mass-market spoiling to the bloggers!

– Matthew Shaer

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