Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wanted! Dead, but preferably Alive

I have read different places about the themes in Wanted appealing strictly to the inner man-boy fantasy in us and echoing the mood of films like The Matrix and Fight Club. Granted, while all this has some note of truth to it, it shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying what is an over the top, exciting action movie.

James McAvoy stars as Wesley Gibson, a nobody who is actually the son of a legendary assassin of the Fraternity. Angelina Jolie enters as Fox, another assassin, trying to recruit him to find his father’s killer. What follows should be a rather mundane story filled with training montages and Wesley’s acceptance of his own powers and the burden that comes with them.

McAvoy is great as Wesley, who is more grounded in reality than people would think. If all of us were told we have a special gift and then proven that we are capable of abilities we never dreamed, what would we do? I think I would try to take his path and after shooting the wings of flies, become convinced I don’t need anything else and am ready to go after my father’s killers. Some would say that Wesley’s anxiety attacks and impotence to make change are relatable traits to identify with, thus making us root for him in his quest. At least he becomes proactive in his search for himself, unlike Zach Braff in Garden State which got an unknown number of teenagers to idolize him. Although it takes almost to the end, Wesley does take the steps to reclaim his life on his own terms, not his father’s or anyone else in society.

I’ve liked McAvoy more and more recently. Dude’s a stud. He is very good in this movie and it’s great to see he can have a more high profile career, because I like watching him act. Jolie did her usual pouty stuff. I didn’t think she was great, but she wasn’t bad either. Luckily, her stone-faced routine gave McAvoy a lot to work off of, whether he was intimidated by her or entranced. Neither Morgan Freeman or Common had too much to do until the very telegraphed and predictable third act. But, Timur Bekmambetov does do the same song, different verse in a unique enough manner to make it enjoyable and have you rooting for Wesley. Unfortunately, most of the ads for the film showed parts that you kept waiting for, so even when it seemed over, you knew it wasn’t.

Finally, I liked the overall idea behind the flick that Wesley states in the final line, “What the fuck have you done lately?” Well, Wesley, I started this blog extolling the virtues of you and your film. So, I’m not sweating it either.


Rachel said...

I loved this movie. McAvoy's awesome, and getting more so all the time, and though this wasn't a stretch for Angelina, at least she plays the sexy assassin well.

And I love how you ripped Braff and Garden State. Never saw what the big deal about that one was.

Michael J. Mendez said...

Garden State is a good movie, not a great movie. Like I've said a million times, I've had better.

I love McAvoy and hope his exposure from this film brings him more opportunities.