Based on Mark Millar's uncompromising graphic novel and directed by Russia's most influential modern day filmmaker, Timur Bekmambetov (Nightwatch series), Wanted tells the story of Wesley Gibson rising above a apathetic life and into the dangerous underworld of assassins, fate, and justice. He follows a dark trail of discovery as he unlocks the keys to his past and hunts down the man who murdered his father, the greatest assassin in the world.
My initial concern for the movie was the dramatic departure from its source material. Instead of super villains hunting down superheroes, we are now rooting for a secret league of assassins with the conviction of maintaining world order. Although I have many complaints about the story, when comparing it to the graphic novel, the screenwriters have miraculously kept the soul of Wanted alive. All the little things that make the comic different and successful can be found within the movie despite the dramatic plot shifts.
The actual drive of the story was pretty lame. Not to give away any of the twists, (if you can call them twists) the Fraternity uses "the loom of fate" to determine their next target. Although the mystical concept of the "loom" may seem interesting, the movie loses a bit of credibility at this point. The random weavings of binary code that translate into a name, which interprets a kill, that when accomplished maintains order to the world, is the sole purpose of the magic loom. This is a bit over the top, especially when the twists and turns in the final act pan into nothing more than a pointless and abrupt exclamation mark. You are left feeling unsatisfied and scratching your head. (I am not talking about the last few seconds of the movie but the final standoff.)
My only other major issue with the film involves a ridiculous sequence with rats. For those of you who have seen the movie you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. I can suspend my disbelief for flipping cars, skyscraper leaps, and the invincibility of an action star, but a garbage truck of explosive rats is where I draw the line.
Technically speaking the movie is awesome. The world of Wanted is rich with texture and excitement. Fast cuts and jaw dropping slow motion, the movie is an exciting roller coaster ride of explosions, car jumps, and head shots. I raise my glass to the sound design team as their audio work stands out with the best.
James McAvoy was perfect for the transition between dying apathy and assassin superstar. The pulsing forehead vein and sloppy slobber of McAvoy's facial expressions added certain intensity to his character and scenes. His passing through the gunfights was more like a ballet than a frantic trigger pulling shootout.
The bullet curving was a lot better than I expect but I definitely got a little tired of the rounds smacking into each other in mid air.
Wesley's initiations into the underworld carried some of the more grueling and intense moments of the film. From getting the crap beat out of him everyday, healing pools, a corpse shooting range, knife fights, and subway roof runs, the training sequences were full of laughs, winces, and the spirit of overcoming.
As an action movie, I would say Wanted is definitely above average, but unfortunately because of its faults the film will only be remembered as a Friday night "something to do."