Sunday, July 6, 2008

I want more Wanted...

Actually that's not quite true.  

I loved the movie Wanted, but I really hope that this is a stand alone movie and there won't be a pointless sequel or prequel as that would really spoil this film as it's perfect as it is. (Spoiler alert! Don't read any further if you don't want to know major story elements of the movie).
WANTED movie billboard with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy
I love when a movie comes along that can really 'WOW' you and give you a fantastic cinema experience.  These days I purposefully try not to watch too many trailers or read the online rumours about films that I'm interested in, because in this day and age with all the internet coverage it's great to be surprised once in awhile.
James McAvoy WANTED movie wallpaper
Wanted is a great film because it's really quite simplistic.  What's refreshing is different way it's been directed and filmed to other recent action movies.  It feels original and exciting and the action set pieces really jump off the screen, whilst James McAvoy, Anjelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman are perfectly cast and give great performances.

Wanted comic book cover
Again we have another movie inspired by a popular comic book series (are there no truly original stories left out there?) by Mark Millar (current writer of Marvel's 1985, Fantastic Four and Wolverine) and J.G.Jones.

The basic film plot is about a secret guild of assassins called The Fraternity, who were founded by a group of weavers a thousand years ago.   They use a code found in the very fabric of the Loom of Fate weavings at their textile mill headquarters (stay with me here) to determine who lives and who dies - as every person marked by death is determined by, you guessed it, fate.

After a fantastic explosive opening to the movie, James McAvoy's character, Wesley Gibson, is introduced as a bored and bullied office worker.  He's a rather sad character who suffers from panic attacks and leads a dull existence (which he acknowledges) where his girlfriend is sleeping with his 'best friend' (another fact he 'knows', but does nothing about) and he's in a job with no respect.

We soon discover that Wesley is the son of one of The Fraternity's assassins and after a breath-taking car chase rescue by Fox (Jolie), we soon see him inducted into the society of assassins and learn his 'panic attacks' are actually a legacy of his father's powers, which enable him to do such miraculous things as shoot the wings off flies.

After some rather brutal training, Wesley is soon bending bullets with the best of them and is given his first target by The Loom of Fate.  Eventually we see him going off to redeem his father's death, who we soon discover (spoilers!) is very much alive and is actually his target, Cross.  The whole Fraternity has been duped by Sloan (Morgan Freeman), who has been manipulating the assassins targets for years, which Cross had learned, which is the reason he went rogue.

Wanted movie poster
The truth is that all the assassins names had been discovered in the Loom's weavings and by the rules of fate they should all have been killed, but Sloan has kept this knowledge a secret.

Unfortunately Wesley learns this secret too late and ends up killing his father, whilst being double crossed by the assassins guild at the same time (who have sent Fox to eliminate him, after being told his name was discovered in the Loom weaving).  

Wesley's revenge when it comes involves a lot of peanut butter and exploding rats - it's not something you see everyday, that's for sure.

I found the climatic action sequence at the end of Wanted reminiscent of The Matrix when Neo and Trinity do their jaw dropping 'all guns blazing' fight, that's not a criticism though, as this time James McAvoy's set piece has been dialed up several notches and it's a truly hi-octane spectacular fight scene and really does leave you thinking - how do they do that?!?

Fox's final sacrifice is also a nice surprise and helps avoid a 'happily ever after' resolution to the film.

I just hope that, even though this film has been a big box-office smash, studio execs won't be tempted to cash in on the success with another film, as Wanted deserves to be a delightful solitary gem and not be ruined in the way that films like The Matrix and Star Wars were by producing inferior sequels and prequels.

My verdict for Wanted - four glorious stars ****

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Håkon said...

Fate has decided I must give this movie one star. Thank you for the lovely long review, but this was easily one of this years worst films.

Jason in Hollywood said...

That's the great thing about the world, everyone is entitled to their own opinion - thanks for sharing!

What's your favourite movie of the year so far? Any recommendations?

Sam said...

Did you find the bullets crashing against each other really fresh and original the first time, second, third, or fourth?

Jason in Hollywood said...

Funnily enough Sam those bullets kept me well entertained, even until the hundredth time.

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