Wanted Movie Review

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About.com Rating

Vital Statistics

Opening Date: June 27th, 2008
Run Time: 110 Minutes
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writers:
Screenplay:
Michael Brandt
Derek Haas
Chris Morgan
Story:
Michael Brandt
Derek Haas
Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.
Based on: The comic book limited series by:
Mark Millar (writer) and J.G. Jones (artist). Published by Image/Top Cow Comics .

The Story

Spoilers Below!
Wanted is about a young man named Wesley Gibson, a nobody pathetic loser like you and me. This all changes when one day a mysterious woman named Fox shows up and tells him his father was the greatest assassin in the world and he is to become part of this group of assassins called “The Fraternity.” Their job it is to kill those that would turn the world into chaos and restore balance to civilization.
Standing in his way is the rogue assassin called Cross, whom Wesley is told killed his father and is systematically killing others in The Fraternity. Wesley is the only one who can take Cross out and trains to become, like his father, the greatest assassin the world has ever seen and restore what Cross is unraveling.

Review

I’ve talked in previous movie reviews about how I really try to turn off the “continuity beast” that resides in many of us, often ruining a movie because they didn’t have it “just right.” Well, even though I tried to shut it off, the beast screamed through much of this motion picture, sad and angry that the comic book story had been picked apart into shreds, smashed together into pulp, and then turned into something that kinda resembles the comic, but goes completely off into its own dimension.
There were bits and pieces there from the story.

Wesley, a young loser, finds out his father was assassinated and was also the greatest assassin of all time. He is in line to inherit everything his father left for him, including the ability to kill with precision and finesse. Guiding him is Fox, another assassin in a group known as “The Fraternity.” From there on out, the movie version goes into a whole new realm.

This realm includes: A mystical loom that speaks binary and tells the assassins who is to die…yes, a loom, a device that makes cloth. The ability for the assassin to curve bullets, kinda neat at first but taken way to far in the conclusion. Guided rat bombs. That’s just a few.

I think for me, I had a hard time telling whether the movie was trying to take itself to seriously. There were bits that pointed to it being just over the top – the scene of Wesley quitting his job and telling his best friend what for – but there were also parts that went the opposite and tried to make this a dramatic action film.

For me, that was the biggest difference between the comic and the movie. The comic was obviously over the top in every way, making fun of the superhero genre, not in a bad way, but done by someone who obviously loves the medium. What happens just couldn’t take place in the real world and its ludicrousness is, in m opinion, one of the things that have made it sell so well. The comic never stopped being in your face and over the top from the beginning to the end, but the movie almost tried to have a message in it, spurring us on to reach for our dreams.

For the rest of the film, there were some highlights. The actors were fine for me, Angelina working well in the role of Fox, and James McAvoy doing fine as Wesley. I even wouldn’t have minded if Morgan Freeman had portrayed the real role of The Professor in the comic, but they made him a mundane version of the character. Overall, the acting was fine for an action flick.

The special effects were good and sometimes the pulled off some neat action scenes. The problem for me was that most of them were in the trailer. Wesley flipping his car over to shoot through the top of the limo was one and a good portion of the opening action scene was another. All pretty good, but I saw it all for free. The action itself was part of the fun, it tried to go into a bit of ridiculousness. How they did what they did was explained rather well and worked…most of the time.

Bottom Line

This movie had bits and pieces of the source material and it was obvious that it was changed to make it more sellable for the public. It often dared to stray over into the ridiculous like the comic, but just enough to make it more marketable. I think it would have been better to just commit, especially since comic book movies are so popular right now and maybe more of the public could have handled what Wanted was going to dish out. I understand it, I just really didn’t like it all that much, and kept thinking of just how divergent it went from the comic.
I loved the comic, and although enjoyed some parts of the movie, it didn’t do it for me even as a stand alone film. I couldn’t tell whether it was being serious or over the top about itself and the end line leaned me in the direction of it being too serious for it’s own good.

For a more movie orientated review, check out our movie guides review of Wanted and an interview with Mark Millar and J.G. Jones about the film.
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