Hancock is over 3000 years old. He is unable to remember anything prior to 1928 due to suffering a bout of amnesia. At the beginning of the story, Hancock does not care about his public image and he often causes more damage than he prevents while performing heroic acts. He is often drunk or hungover which results in the public he attempts to help distrusting and disliking him. After saving the life of public relations spokesman Ray Embrey, Hancock works with Embrey to attempt to repair his tarnished public image and eventually Ray helps Hancock to become a respected hero.
Hancock is currently located in New York.
Hancock's species or origins are mostly kept secret and the audience is only given hints/implications rather than a straight answer, as Mary stated people (the various cultures throughout their lifespan) had called them "angels, gods and now superheroes", which would seem to hint at the fact that she didn't really have a name for her kind or that whomever they were was presumably relative and up to the interpretation of the public as quoted. (Keep in mind: This may only be a theory, but the earliest incident Mary mentions to Hancock in the hospital is them having been attacked in Sumer. Combined with her describing her and Hancock as having been known as Gods and Angels to various cultures, it's worth pointing out that there was a Goddess in Sumer that was later known as Mary, Asherah. Asherah was the wife of the Sumerian god Anu, the equivalent to the Ugaritic god El, who became later known as Yahweh. Basically, making the assumption that Mary and Hancock were these godlike beings also supporting the fact that they were assumed as gods.)
Mary and Hancock were able to keep there powers because they broke up hundreds of years ago to keep the earth safe. However in the 1920s while trying to stop a mugging Mary got in the way and gave Hancock a concussion, feeling bad, Mary fled into hiding leaving Hancock with amnesia.
Hancock is approximately 3,000 years old and it has been revealed that in his past he lived in ancient Rome and Greece; however due to amnesia the farthest back he can remember is living in Miami, approximately 80 years ago. Hancock woke up in a hospital after a black out caused by his skull being fractured. Due to the amnesia he could not recall his name and was unaware of his prior relationship with Mary Embrey. He recalled nothing regarding his past life. When discharged from hospital the reception nurse asked him for his "John Hancock". Thinking that this was his name, he adopted the name as his identity.
Eventually landing up in Los Angeles Hancock attempted to serve as a superhero with mixed success. It is established that while he was successful in reducing crime, problems arose due to his alcohol drinking problem, he frequently caused more damage than he prevented. Hancock displayed an irresponsible and arrogant attitude, refusing to submit to court subpoenas to answer to lawsuits.
After preventing the death of Ray Embrey in a train accident, a grateful Ray attempts to improve Hancock's public image. Ray persuades Hancock that the best way to repair his public image is to appear humble and him turn himself in to the courts gambling that the city will eventually realise that they need Hancock to keep crime at manageable levels. Eventually Ray's plan works and in response to rapidly rising crime rates the city releases Hancock to help with a hostage situation.
After thwarting the hostage situation and subduing the criminal gangs leader Red Parker by cutting off the hand in which he was holding a detonator, the city welcomed Hancock back.
Spending more and more time with Ray's family Hancock feels an attraction to Ray's wife Mary which eventually leads to the revelation that Mary appears to share similar powers to Hancock, manifested by Mary throwing Hancock through the kitchen wall and down the street.
Mary initially attempts to convince Hancock that they are brother and sister but eventually tells him the truth that they were created to be together. The pair end up battling each other and Hancock learns his true age. Mary reveals to Hancock that they are the last of their kind and the race they belonged to were once referred to as Gods and Angels but were now thought of as superheroes. Mary inadvertently reveals her secret powers to Ray and both she and Hancock tell Ray the full details of their past and their prior relationship.
Hancock prevents a liquor store robbery but is shot twice in the chest in the process. He is then immediately rushed to the hospital. While visiting Hancock in hospital Mary reveals that prolonged contact with each other results in deterioration of both their powers and eventually they will lose their immortality. She then describes their lives from 4 B.C. up to 1928, the year Hancock lost his memory.
Taking advantage of Hancock's weakened state Red Parker shows up at the hospital and attacks Hancock, during the attack Mary is shot. After sustaining a severe beating at the hands of Red's henchmen Hancock is helpless and about to be killed by Red but Ray intervenes, cutting off Red's remaining hand with a fire axe and then killing Red. Hancock then flees because greater distance from Mary will allow them both to recover from their injuries. Hancock accepts that he and Mary cannot be together and seems to happily let Mary live her life with Ray. Hancock currently resides in New York where he appears to be successfully carrying out his duties as a superhero.
In the mid-credits scene a criminal is on the loose, and when he takes a hostage, Hancock shows up. Hancock tells the police to put their weapons down. The criminal calls him an asshole and Hancock turns and smiles at him.
Powers and Abilities
- Superhuman Strength: Hancock possesses incredible superhuman strength, he easily throws a beached full grown blue whale (approximate weight 190 tons) a great distance back into the ocean and used his nails to cut a metal disk. His fight with Mary partially leveled a large city with no trouble while both weakened and they effortlessly destroyed buildings and threw busses, cars, and gurders from buildings while weakened. Hancock even stopped a train and threw a car with no sweat or effort at all. Hancock even used a car as a shield.
- Superhuman Stamina: Hancock displays the ability to utilise his powers for long periods of time without tiring and seems to recover from intense expenditure of energy quickly.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Hancock's accelerated reflexes are far superior to even the most physically perfect human. Hancock can even hit an RPG easily.
- Invulnerability: Hancock appears to be invulnerable to injury. He has withstood the impact of a large moving freight train and can easily handle hard landings after flight or from falls. His skin is impervious to bullets and he has withstood the blast from an RPG and the explosion of a car. Hancock even fought Mary and was hit by buses and launched through buildings unharmed despite both their powers getting drained by each other. The only time Hancock displays any vulnerability to injury is when he is in close proximity to Mary Embrey.
- Flight: Hancock is able to fly at supersonic speeds and appears capable of interplanetary flight as it appears he has left Ray's 'All-Heart' logo on the face of the Moon. It's possible he can go faster than light because he traveled to and put a heart on the moon before anyone noticed but on earth he can go at supersonic speeds like when he traveled to a far out jail in the desert to a city in a matter of seconds. He and Mary even crossed a large city in just a few seconds while weakened, fighting and getting smashed into the ground and through buildings and not putting much effort in to fighting.
- Weather Control: Hancock can control and summon high winds and tornadoes as displayed in the fight against Mary. Although its never directly stated in the film, the director Peter Berg has clarified that is is in fact Hancock who is summoning the tornadoes and Mary is summoning the lightning.
- Superhuman Hearing: Hancock was able to hear Mary and Ray's conversation when he was on the roof of their brick built house.
- Immunity: Being immortal it follows that Hancock is immune to toxins and diseases and requires no air.
- Immortality: Hancock has lived for thousands of years. If he stays separated from Mary both will remain immortal.
- Regeneration: Hancock is capable of accelerated healing which enables him to recover from injuries at an accelerated rate. Hancock describes recovering from the head injuries which resulted in his amnesia in a few hours to the amazement of the doctors treating him. The healing process is reduced the more time is spent in close proximity to Mary but the healing ability is reactivated when separated from Mary resulting in wounds, scars, and other physical trauma healing and the reversal of any aging. He still retains scars from multiple times he has protected Mary throughout time, all when he was mortal.
Because of his invulnerability he possesses very little in the way of actually weaknesses. Hancock displays a lack of responsibility, arrogance and a lack of awareness of the possible tragic consequences of his neglectful actions. He displays a volatile temper which often leads to dangerous, impulsive, and even brutal acts.
He is also as susceptible to the effects of alcohol as a normal person would be.
Prolonged time spent in proximity to Mary Embrey results in the deterioration of his powers reducing him to mortal levels of vulnerability. Being in her immediate presence causes both of them to become mortals, though they still possess their powers for days before they start to lose them, seemingly due to Hancock not always being in Mary's immediate presence. Being around her for too long and repeatedly being with her caused them to lose their powers even when they were not near each other. When reduced, they are vulnerable to all the weaknesses that afflict a normal human, despite retaining enough of his superhuman strength and resilience to kill several humans with his strength before any injuries could truly weaken him or cause him to collapse. If he leaves Mary's immediate presence, he quickly regains his full range of powers.