I’ll be honest, I was nervous. I feared that Wanted would be just another Smokin’ Aces or Shoot ‘em Up. Not that I didn’t enjoy those two movies, I did, but I hoped Wanted would be something more. I wasn’t disappointed. What I was disappointed about (as I’ve already blogged) is the limited release it has in the UK, hardly any performances and no premier seating. Anyway, we decided to catch it today and I’m glad we did.
Wanted is the story of a collection of assassins (The Fraternity) who are under siege from a rogue member, and they need Wesley (James McAvoy) to come and save them. It’s based very loosely on a comic book of the same name (there are some major differences, it’s not a comic book adaptation, it’s a screenplay based on some concepts in the comic book). It’s rated 18 in the UK, and it deserves that rating with some reasonably graphic scenes. As you can imagine, being about a group of assassins, there’s a lot of killing and I’m sure the movie will be lambasted as glorifying gun use.
But the reason I wasn’t disappointed is that Wanted is deeper than just a movie about killing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a deep movie, but it’s not simply another Shoot ‘em Up either. The screenplay is interesting, McAvoy’s character (the only one who really has any depth) is well played, the pace is superb and the adrenaline pumping action is very, very good. But what brings this movie just a notch above the standard is the tale of morality and what happens when you achieve absolute power.
The twists aren’t unexpected, and they aren’t ground breaking, but they turn an otherwise flat action movie into something just a little more thoughtful and I’m looking forward to seeing it again as soon as it comes out on DVD.
Once the credits were rolling and what it was about began to sink in, I found myself playing earlier scenes in the film back in my head straight away; realising how some of the elements and threads had been laid down from a very early stage. That was enjoyable and gave the movie more credibility in my view, that it wasn’t merely an excuse to see Angelina Jolie shooting guns and looking hot – although that’s a credible aim as well, obviously.
Don’t take the kids, don’t take your pre-conceptions, but do go along expecting something fun, entertaining and not entirely without morality.