A friend invited me to a press screening of "Wanted" last night (opens today everywhere).
You've probably seen the previews for this over-the-top Angelina Jolie/James MacAvoy action flick about super-powered assassins. And you've probably had one of two reactions: either "That looks fuckin' awesome!" or "That looks fuckin' stupid!"
First, my review for the "fuckin' awesome!" people: You're right, it is! Whoooo!!! The action is incredible, awesomely choreographed. It's funny and twisted and exciting as hell. Even the twists that are telegraphed an hour in advance are handled with a grace, flair, and humour that makes the whole thing just gleeful fun. Plus, you get a brief glimpse of Angelina Jolie's ass! (Although, considering you're reading this on the Internet, if you wanted to see Angelina Jolie's ass, I'm sure you've seen it hundreds of times before)
Okay, now my review for the "fuckin' stupid!" people: To be specific, this is aimed at people who can enjoy a good action flick, but think this one in particular looks stupid--if you just don't like action, you probably haven't even read this far.
Look, they're obviously not attempting realism here, so stop complaining about it. I believe it was Roger Ebert who said (one of the few times I really agreed with him) that movies aren't about literal truth, they're about emotional truth. Otherwise, "The Wizard of Oz" is about a girl who bumps her head and is out cold for a few hours, not a magical journey about friendship and learning to believe in yourself. Well, emotionally, this is the twisted bastard child of "The Matrix" and "Fight Club".
MacAvoy provides the connection to reality as sad-sack nobody Wesley Gibson, an "account manager" who is so unimportant no results come up when he googles his name. His father left when he was 7 days old (presumably upon realizing he'd fathered the least important human ever), his boss is a bitch, his best friend is sleeping with his girlfriend, and he's broke. He doesn't even have the energy to wish for something better, instead plodding through life apologizing to everyone. Then Angelina Jolie and explains his father had just died, and the killer is now gunning for him. Turns out there's a Fraternity of weaver/assassins, his father was the one of the best, but now one has gone rogue and is taking out the whole Fraternity. Sure, it sucks that someone is trying to kill him, but he survives and a hot assassin chick is taking him on adventures. He feels different, like he's finally woken up. He tells off his boss, breaks his ergonomic keyboard over his best friends face, and goes off to join the assassins. Even if training consists of him getting his ass kicked over and over again, it's preferably to crappy old life.
And I realize I'm devolving into just a plot summary, so I'll quit before I get to spoilers. I suppose there are very few situations where "I want to quit my stupid fucking cubicle job and go become a super-assassin" is an appropriate thing to say. But a review for "Wanted" is one of those situations.