Film Review: Wanted

Wanted is apparently based upon a comic book series, but from what I can understand, it’s basically just title and character names, because the comic book series is far more padded, more thought out and elongated than the film, that simply borrows the ideas behind a few characters, hires Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy and calls it a movie.

Wanted is also one of those films that you come away from not knowing whether you’ve actually liked it, enjoyed it, or somehow become devoid of all emotion. All you are sure of is that you haven’t hated it. You haven’t been bored. More than that though, it manages so say virtually nothing either. It opens box after box, scattering everything around with no intention of tidying up and still, you walk about, not fussed about the lack of care, sense or answers is shows.

Nearly the entire film is implausible and impossible. It is essentially an entire film of deus ex machina, things happen purely because things need to happen, nothing is set up, nothing is ever explained, if they need to do something, have something, it’s just there. After all, the reasons of a secret society are exactly that, secret. And yet, what should be grating, what should drive you up the wall and make you mad doesn’t. In fact, it fits the tone of the film perfectly. Somehow, just having never explaining, for once, works.

James McAvoy - Wanted

You can’t even really start to comment on the performances of the actors involved either, because aside from McAvoy, no one is ever around long enough to provide anything more than a lingering taste. They all drop quietly in and out in such a way that you finish with a rounded picture of each of them, but they’ve never brought you in. You never understand the characters, who or why they are as they are, yet they are all familiar, and seem right. They’re just another layer of tonally wrong, but perfectly right nonsense.

However, James McAvoy is the exception to this. As the lead character, and thus the center around which the film rotates, you are given more depth to his character to absorb. It’s not an obitorous timeline, and you never get behind the eyes, but your given more to play with. I never really side with him, I never really felt his friend, but I didn’t dislike him either. I think the way McAvoy brings the character to life is far too clichéd at times, and his reactions far too stereotypical, too increased, too comedic; he doesn’t feel like he could truly survive in the position he’s forced into, and accepting it far more forgivingly than realistic, but he always manages to stop one step short of break point though.

Comic Book Special Effects - Wanted

Ignoring the fact the plot is only possible in comic book pages, and the characters far too devoid, there is one big distraction I had with the film. The special effects. There are times when it really mirrors the illustrative artistic imagery so synonymous to its source but at others it layers in CGI elements that look so cheap that they demand more than just notice. You physically have to stop yourself from laughing they are so obvious and bad. It’s not just that they feel dated, they honestly look like the work experience boy has created them. And when you’re trying to not laugh at a film, even fleetingly, it means it’s lost you forever.

And yet I can’t help go back to my initial point. Wanted did not bore me. Even more, there is even a moment, where the prosaic repetition of genre defining events somehow draw you in. For a split second that little butterfly of climatic excitement flapped it’s wings inside me. While you still groan that something choreographed and predicted in act one has finally appeared, you still wish for the split second it’s there, that you were him, and you were doing this, and then you forget letting the infeasible stupidity of ideas on which this film is based wash back over you.

Drawing the bottom line, Wanted is simply a throw away action adventure. It’s a comic book turned into a film because somewhere, someone thought it sounded cool. And that’s exactly how I feel about it. It’s cool. It’s never going to win me over, draw me me, move me emotionally or provide a story that demands much, if any brain power to absorb. It truly is the throw away film. The stick on and forget. Beer and pizza, background noise, that from time to time is exactly what we all need. It’s a comic book in a world full of fiction.

6 out of 10 stars (6 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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