Rating: 3 of 5
Wanted is seriously badass. If nothing else, you kind of have to love that about it.
The movie follows Wesely Gibson (James McAvoy) essentially through a journey of discovering who he is. His world as a mild mannered accountant is well established in the beginning. I kept thinking how much I couldn’t wait for these people around him to see him unleashed, because I knew where the story was going. His intersection with a fraternity of assassins was laced very neatly into the ordinary world. I appreciated that McAvoy handles his introduction to the Fraternity quite realistically.
The training to become a man of formidable strength and skill is a significant chunk of the movie, and it’s fun. The thing that makes it most interesting is his interaction with Fox (Angelina Jolie). She’s tough and confident and remarkably cool but there’s this camaraderie between them. They like each other which creates an understanding and a playfulness between them.
Ultimately, he is a man reforged. McAvoy adeptly handles both the vulnerability of the character initially and the strength, conviction and resourcefulness of what he becomes. He’s not your typical action hero but in the final scenes he really pulls it off. Unfortunately, he’s given far too many “Stella” moments and in that I felt bad for him.
Angelina Jolie is fantastic. She’s so sleek and strong and confident and cool and even funny once or twice. She has this great moment where I could only think, “That is the coolest most badass thing I’ve seen in a really long time.” I read an article where she talked about cutting a lot of her lines and it totally worked. She’s expressive, you know and understand the character and she’s more powerful for not saying anything.
The film reaches for a deeper meaning with allusions to Fight Club, but it doesn’t quite pull them off. The message is different and one I could definitely encourage. But it gets forgotten in the middle of the two other stories they’re telling and comes back more like an afterthought than an actual theme. I think they’re trying to tell one too many stories.
It has stunning action sequences and more than just those in the preview. A few of the big action scenes are a little clumsy, edited in a way that doesn’t help you entirely understand what’s going on in the scene. But for the most part the inventive stunts are tempered with authentic, exciting action. There’s one chase scene with James McAvoy that is very realistic and shows how cool and focused this guy has become. There’s a game that Wesely and Fox play that’s brilliant and very cool, unreal but authentic action. I wanted more of the action to be that sort of sleek and authentic and with just enough surreality to make it cooler than real life.
But when it’s not an action scene the film can be pudgy for lack of a better word. There’s too much slow motion and characters should not speak in slow motion. The great actions scenes are so good the whole film should be as sharp and focused and svelte as it’s characters and it’s just not.
I wanted more. I wanted it to be astonishingly good.