Wanted: definitely alive

13Jan09

I finally got around to watching Wanted, based on the Top Cow graphic novel by writer Mark Millar and artist J. G. Jones.  I haven’t read the comic, but I am a big Millar fan. Well, I’m going to have to pick it up along with the movie, because for the most part I loved it.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, Wanted is an extremely action-packed adrenaline fest—quite literally. James McAvoy plays the main character, Wesley Gibson. The film begins with a set-up and theme very similar to Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, which focuses on a scrawny push-over whose life revolves around his mundane cubicle existence and an affinity for material possessions. I’ve heard this complaint with Wanted before; however, it’s important to note that while roughly the first twenty minutes might be the weakest part of the film, it quickly evolves and becomes its own creation.

Rescued from his office-centered life by Fox (Angelina Jolie), Gibson unexpectedly finds himself in the middle of a gunfight and car race between Fox and Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), whom Fox tells him killed his father—a top-notch assassin for the Fraternity. Before this, the movie doesn’t impress so well. I especially hated the incorporation of the Nine Inch Nails song, “Every Day Is Exactly the Same”—and they’re one of my favorite bands! While I don’t pretend to know anything about the music selection process for movies, I do know a little bit about how art comes together.  Unfortunately, the lyrics of the song fit the mood and story in the beginning a little too perfectly, so it pretty much sounds like they’re beating into you what you already gathered. Thankfully, once the movie picks up it only gathers speed, and the rest of the soundtrack is fantastic.

Anyway, after Gibson is through being a sometimes overly-convincing wuss, he decides to start taking back control of his life by joining the Fraternity of Assassins. But being an assassin with super-adrenaline powers—which, most notably, allow him to manipulate his interaction with time and bend bullets—isn’t as easy as he thinks, and his arrogance is almost immediately rewarded with a heavy dose of reality. Once Gibson starts to better understand his role, however, he eases into his full skill set much like Neo does in The Matrix once he is in-tune with the Matrix (“there is no spoon” and all that).

The movie is a blast to see unfold, and while some may profess the action to be unlikably over-the-top, I think it only heightens the story. I have some minor issues with the acting, though. This wasn’t my favorite portrayal by Morgan Freeman

—who plays the character Sloan, head of the Fraternity—to say the least. For the short length of time that he was actually in the film, it was stoic and uninteresting. In the beginning McAvoy is a little annoying, but when he moves into his adrenaline-fueled, confident nature, it’s just a pleasure to watch him on-screen. There are some pretty funny moments, too, and something happens near the end of the movie—before the big reveal—that just made me keep thinking, incredulously, “Oh, no they won’t!” Needless to say, they did, and it was a ton of fun. And I don’t know how close the film is to the GN, but from what I’ve heard a lot of the shots are close to the original panels.

Wanted might not be without its flaws, but it’s definitely worth watching. It’s not a superhero film, so you don’t have to be a comic book fan to enjoy it, either. Is it rewatchable? I’d say so. Go check it out if you haven’t already! I’m glad I did.

EDIT: Thanks to TheNerdyBird for pointing out my hilarious typo of “Morgan Fox.” That’s what I get for being a TDK freak. Lucius Fox + Morgan Freeman + Fox (from Wanted) = Morgan Fox. 😛

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7 Responses to “Wanted: definitely alive”

  1. Awesome review. I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said. One thing I’d add is regarding the selection of music for the film you forgot to mention Danny Elfman’s orchestral score. One aspect of the movie that I feel is underrated but that certainly contributed to my enjoyment of it was Elfman’s score. Some of the tracks on Wanted are really cool to listen to on their own. They are kind of weird actually because the first time I listened to Wanted the Soundtrack I thought ‘meh’ but the second time I quickly pulled out a couple of the orchestral tracks and loved them. Now I regularly listen to them in my short list 😀

    But yep, great review. Cool film.

  2. I watched the first half of the movie and wasn’t that impressed but I probably owe it to the film to sit down and watch it in it’s entirety before I judge it. From what I understand it has very little to do with the graphic novel, which sounds like a way cooler story to me (something about a society of supervillains that secretly run the world.)

  3. Agreed. Elfman’s score IS awesome. I actually looked it up on imeem.com, haha! 🙂

    Ohh, really? Okay, I’m definitely going to have to read the GN and see how it compares to the movie. But as a film, I thought Wanted was really entertaining. Give it another shot and let me know!

  4. Great review (as always) – I actually really enjoyed this movie all the way up to the very last line. Why insult your audience after taking them on a ride that *might* let them leave the flick on a positive note?

    That movie jumper did the SAME thing, only it was done at the beginning of the movie, so the whole thing sucked from that point on…

  5. JC!! Holy cow, man, I haven’t heard from you in a good while! How have you been? 🙂

    Haha, I kind of liked how it ended, actually. I thought Gibson meant it more as a snarky invitation—the same kind the Fraternity made to him before he took back control of his life. Haven’t seen Jumper, though.

  6. Hey 🙂

    I’ve *been* meaning to talk to you, actually – have you seen the new site?

    Things they are a-changin’

  7. LOVE the design. Site’s being kind of wonky/slow right now though, so I can’t really comment. 😦


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