Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Wanted opens with Matrix-esque gun battle, complete with a determined man in a dark suit leaping from one building to another, before launching into a bullet fuelled fight. The film then cuts to yet another scene that brings the Matrix to mind – an average looking office where we meet our “hero” Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy). Gibson’s life is going nowhere fast. His boss hates him, his girlfriend is cheating on him with his co-called best friend and he keeps getting panic attacks. Soon things begin to look up when he meets the mysterious Fox (Jolie). She tells him that she knew his father and that he is set to inherit three million dollars. Fox then rescues Gibson from an assassination attempt and tells him that it is his destiny to become a super-assassin with The Fraternity, a secret organization of weavers (yes – people who make clothes) led by the enigmatic Sloan (Morgan Freeman).
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov in his English language debut - Wanted is a 14 year-old boy’s fantasy - being given $3 million, a gun and Angelina Jolie as company. Your viewpoint of the film will depend on how well you can suspend disbelief and your opinions on casual violence. The shadow of The Matrix looms large over Wanted, but bizarrely there are also quite a few nods to The Empire Strikes Back. Wanted isn’t a bad film, but it’s far from great. There are some good visual moments, and it is high on the action front, as well as being pretty darn violent for this PG-13 age.
Jolie is all pouting and shooting with very little dialogue, while McAvoy is a decent lead – this boy could go far! The most interesting character in the film should have been Morgan Freeman’s Sloan, but large chunks of his character arc seemed to have been ditched to make room for slow-motion action sequences and training montages.
Wanted isn’t a bad piece of summer popcorn fun and it sets itself up nicely for a sequel. However, I have to wonder who is this film aimed at?
It’s violent as hell, but just too juvenile and simplistic to attract an older audience.