I actually got this movie as a Christmas present probably three years ago and never got around to watch it, I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to it. You may not think it’s a superhero movie at first, but there’s definitely some super powers and it was based on a comic book series written by Mark Millar so that’s good enough for me. This movie has some serious action in it, and a lot of humor. It feels a kinda like a mix between Kick-Ass, Fight Club, and Fast and the Furious and I mean that as a good thing. This may not go on my list of top superhero movies just because it doesn’t have quite enough of a superhero vibe to it, but I will likely be making a list of my favorite comic book movies and this will definitely be on that one.
One of the movies I compared this to was Fight Club, and that is especially apparent in the beginning of the movie, as Wesley feels very much like Edward Norton’s character in the beginning of Fight Club, he’s bored, dead-eyed, working in a mind-numbing office job with a jerk for a boss and cheating nag of a girlfriend. There’s some nice David Fincher style flourishes that felt like a nod to Fight Club without being an overt copy of it. Also, like Fight Club, there is a twist at the end of the movie, and it is something that works when you know about it. Also, during the training montage, there is a lot of Wesley getting beaten up.
When this movie really gets going is when it gets into one of its crazy action sequences. This is where it takes a page out of Zack Snyder’s book with a lot of slo-mo close ups, but everything is going so fast, and the action is so insanely over the top that it’s just too much fun to watch, especially all the car and train chase sequences. The gunplay also uses some interesting techniques like occasionally going in reverse, which felt like it helped make the occasional use of gore less horrific and more stylistic. The only real problem I had with the action sequences was the entire concept of curving bullets, and that’s in large part because there was an episode of Mythbusters where they tried to actually curve a bullet and failed.
The general plot of the movie is a fairly basic origin story where Wesley starts out as a nobody until it’s revealed that he has the power to become a super-assassin, and through the power of a training montage and a lot of sexy looks from Angelina Jolie, becomes a nigh-unstoppable killing machine. There was one minor part that bugged me a little, in this movie Morgan Freeman plays the mentor character and often talks about Jolie’s character named Fox, while he also played Lucious Fox in the Dark Knight Trilogy so that bugged me a little bit, but that’s just me and not really a knock against the movie. Jolie definitely has a lot of fun in this role and plays it well, the only minor problem I had was that there didn’t really feel like there was a whole lot of chemistry between her and McAvoy and what little relationship there was felt undeserved.
I think one of the things I like the best about this movie is the conclusion. There is a twist that is revealed towards the end which I won’t spoil here, but it does change the game where the movie is involved, and when things turn around there are plenty of callbacks to earlier in the movie that work in all the right places. There is also a lot of attention to the details in this movie, there are a lot of little details in close-ups as well as in the background. Some of them are fairly obvious, but others are more subtle.
As far as the choice for James McAvoy to be a super-assassin, it did seem like an odd one. While he did a great job as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class, he didn’t really have to do a lot of action scenes. Here, I thought he did a great job at playing both the nerdy account manager at the beginning of the movie scared of everything going on as well as the confident assassin after his training. The style of the guns was also worth mentioning as few of them are standard action movie guns. They all have some sort of elaborate engraving or other flourish, the bullets as well. It really helped to make the movie stand out, at least a little, from typical action fare. I really enjoyed this movie and it’s a shame it took me this long to watch it. I also don’t really remember hearing anything about this movie one way or the other when it first came out and it’s a shame if it got overlooked. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
Posted on March 6, 2013, in 00's movies and tagged action, comic book, movies, review. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.
I’m with you on this, BW. ‘Wanted’ gathers a lot of grief from many quarters it seems. I find it quite entertaining. It’s not in the top echelon of superhero movies, but it’s not a the caboose end either.
I didn’t look into any other reviews to see what the consensus was about it, but I loved it. I thought it took a lot of elements from other movies I liked without “stealing” them and came up with something pretty kick-ass, pun intended.
Big fan of this film. It’s just a lot of fun. I don’t know why it’s not more enjoyed by the wider audiences. James McAvoy makes a surprisingly good action character here. He’s great at playing the rather loser like Wesley and the super duper comic book hero.
Would love to see a sequel, but not sure how likely that will be considering how well this one didn’t quite do.
It’s weird how some movies hit and others don’t, even though this movie did make a profit as far as I can tell. I think a sequel would be fun, though the way things end up, I’m not sure how they could do it since I thought the chemistry was great between the three leads (and I’m talking action chemistry rather than romantic chemistry).
What do you think would be a good set up for a sequel?
You know what? I can’t say. Wesley delving further into the organisation, because it’s clear he was only touching the surface of it.
Oh and timing of it, James McAvoy says one sentence on the subject of Wanted 2 here – http://www.heyuguys.co.uk/james-mcavoy-updates-on-x-men-days-of-future-past-the-crow-reboot-and-wanted-2/
That would probably be the way to go, but I’m not sure if I would enjoy that as much. Interesting timing on the quote too.
I really liked the film too, once you look past the bullet-bending and the posters of Jolie’s stick-thin arm holding up what looks like a fairly hefty desert eagle-like gun. But damn, was she hot in this film, especially when she and Wesley visit his ex.
For me, though, Morgan Freeman was a terrible choice as the [SPOILER] main villain of the piece, I cannot take him seriously when he swears, and the final bullet-bending by Jolie was a little too ludicrous to be believed.
There was plenty of action and fun in this film, far more than the generally negative reception would have you believe, and I don’t feel in anyway ashamed of owning the copy. Apparently when Millar originally created it he had intended it to star Eminem and Halle Berry, as the images in the graphic novel look identical to them. I’m far happier with the casting Timur Bekmmambetov went for.
It’s funny that you mention Freeman swearing, it *is* so out of place that it actually made me laugh quite a bit. And while the final bullet curve was rather ludicrous, it was a great way to cap it, especially since it was set up so well by Jolie’s earlier story.
It seems to have a lot of underground fans, thanks for commenting!
I really liked this movie, too. Can’t believe you had it so long and didn’t watch it! As you said, McAvoy at first is a strange choice but he was totally believable. I think he has a couple of more action-centric movies coming out soon so I guess this was his jump off point to dabble in that genre more…
I know, I even caught some of it a long while back and enjoyed it but never went back and watched it from the beginning. It’s always great to hear so many people that come here enjoy the movie too. I’ve said it before, but my followers have great taste.
I quite enjoyed this one. It’s got some really preposterous scenes but I guess I expected that from Timor. McAvoy proved he could be a bad ass action hero. He looked like a younger, smaller Gerry Butler here.
I think it helps to watch this movie from a superhero perspective, curving bullets doesn’t seem so weird compared to, say a green ring that projects solid energy. But if you’re coming in from an action movie perspective, it might be a little too far on the crazy side.
Great write-up man. I know I said in our interview that I don’t get overly excited about superhero movies but I really enjoyed this one. It’s was a total blast. Great entertainment and undeserving of a lot if the criticism it has recieved.
It’s not your typical superhero movie, and not your typical action movie either, and I enjoyed it on both levels. I think it just needs some oomph to turn it into a cult classic.