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.