Wanted Review

Published 7 years ago by , Updated July 12th, 2008 at 2:38 pm,

Short version: Wanted tries oh so hard to be the next Matrix, but despite insane amounts of action, falls short.

wanted reviews Wanted Review
Screen Rant’s Wanted review

No doubt I’ll be taking a lot of heat for this since it seems that across the board, Wanted reviews are glowing and effusive in praise. I’ve seen many comments to the effect of “it was trash, but I loved it anyway.” While I certainly wouldn’t call it trash, it also failed to win me over.

Now don’t get me wrong… Pardon the pun, but going in I really wanted to love this movie. I didn’t go in with any thoughts that it would be high art or deep drama – just a cool popcorn flick. But even in popcorn action movies I can only suspend my disbelief so much.

There are minor spoilers related to the very first scene in the film below.

The film opens with a very cool sequence, which had me quite excited to see the rest of the film – an assassin arrives at an office about 20 or so stories high, and commences to have a gunfight with some other guys on the rooftop of a building across the street. It’s a really cool scene which demonstrates the assassin’s proficiency as he starts taking them out one by one. Suddenly they get the upper hand and he heads back down the hall and launches himself forward apparently at superhuman speed. From there we go from cool to ridiculous.

This is the scene where he breaks through a plate glass window face-first as seen in the trailer, and this is where I started scratching my head – instead of falling, he continues to fly forward, apparently on momentum. Then while still moving forward with no drop in elevation, starts shooting at his enemies. Really, I thought this was going to be some sacrificial scene as he eventually starts to drop, especially from the reverse force of firing his guns… but no. He seems to drop and them magically appears on the rooftop behind the baddies.

This left me wondering: Am I watching a superhero movie or a movie about incredibly ninja-level skilled assassins? This was a question that was never fully answered, and the fact that Wanted takes place in the real word made much of what happens in the movie hard to swallow.

From there we meet anxiety-ridden, cubicle-dwelling Wesley Gibson (played by James McAvoy). His life is in a rut – he’s in a dead end job, broke, has a foul-mouthed, overweight harpy for a boss, and his best friend is having sex with his girlfriend. How such a loser managed to score such a good looking girlfriend is beyond me. Anyway he runs into “Fox” (Angelina Jolie) at a mini-mart, where she tells him his father just died and was a master assassin, right before saving his life from another assassin who seems to be out to get Wesley.


Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

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  1. I don’t think it’s bending tha laws of physics in as much as they are warping the fabric of reality and thereby negating the effects of time… :)

  2. Vic, what kind of movie did you intend to see the night you saw Wanted? This is not Sense & Sensibilities or Atonement.

    I think it would be a much better sell to say this movie was the next Fight Club, than the next Matrix. In fact I saw Fight Club just a couple months back, with the friend who saw Wanted with me. Some of the same language about the drudgery of the routine world was found in this movie.

    I loved how words would sort of jump off the page–especially in the supermarket shootout. Too bad that surreal motif was rather isolated.

    In fact, why not dwell on that theme? Why is it that the office cubicle is depicted as an evil and emasculating slavery, a dreamkiller and ballchopper? Why does that theme keep coming up? Why do we respect an amped up killer more than a faithful old laborer (you know, the “working American” that every presidential candidate wants to know they care about them.)

  3. No Vic you misheard that it is actually
    “kill one thousand to save one”
    or at least that is my story and I am sticking to it!

  4. Vic:

    I totally agree that the deaths during the train wreck violate the “honorable” aspects of the story we were told. You get no disagreement from me on that.

    As for the bending of bullets…so you accept that a man can irradiate his body, turb large & green and gain both size and mass, but altering the flight path of a bullet is too much to take? Hey, like you said, to each his own. ;)

    Still love the site and will be a loyal reader. I know I can count on you to tell me what you think of these things. Hard to find that these days. ;)

  5. Greenknight333 I believe you just contradicted yourself with the laws of physics comment. ;-)
    Jc in Chicago, I think the matrix connection is very blatant.
    You have the Trinity character played by Jolie, she’s going after Wesley who’s Neo, and the leader of the group is Freeman who represents Morphius,,, “join us?”.
    Throw in the bullet-time effects and story elements, that’s The Matrix – the machines.
    I don’t see any significant connection to Fight Club?

    Classic Hollywood plagiarism.
    Kill one to save a thousand, goes out the window if you don’t care about colateral damage.
    Who’s to say who lives or dies anyway.
    All those people on the train, one of them could have changed the world.

  6. Greenknight333 if you were joking sorry that went right past me. ;-)

    Jokes on me. Haha.

  7. Yeah I get what you mean Greenknight and its even more of a Matrix ripoff then I thought. ;-)

    Yeah I don’t like the cast so its a no go for me.

  8. So to those who are comparing this to the comic, I don’t think it’s entirely comparable. I haven’t seen the movie yet, just read the comic, but the film isn’t even based on the comic.
    At all.
    It’s actually the original story Millar planned for the comic, but ended up changing.

  9. First, I didn’t go in expecting “Sense and Sensibility”… I made that clear in my review and in all my posts leading up to the review. It just didn’t work for me and I can think of at least 30+ reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes who agree with me.

    Regarding comparisons between this and the Hulk, for example – in pretty much every superhero movie that is not blatantly science fiction (Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Superman, X-Men, etc.) the heroes themselves have special powers, but the laws of physics still apply for the most part.

    As far as I know, no one in “Wanted” had the ability to telekinetically cause a bullet to travel in a circular path within the confines of a small room and have the mass/momentum to not only do that but continue on through multiple human heads.

    Best regards,


  10. Wall E took in about 65 million dollars this weekend.
    and Wanted 51 million .
    Action films will always do well.
    but family films like Wall E are the bread and butter of hollywood .
    Parents will always need family fare to take their kids to.

  11. I have to agree with Vic 100% on this.

    His review is spot on!

    On a random side note – I just realized that I met Mark Millar about 10 years ago at a comic signing. I forgot about it and by accident came across his autograph yesterday inside a graphic novel.

  12. I know millar saw the film recently,
    any word on his opinion?

  13. There ought to be a rule that anyone who hasn’t seen a movie, is only allowed one comment. Especially on specific scenes others who saw the movie have brought up, so all he or she has to go on is secondhand impressions. That is so bogus. At least Vic and others have seen the movie before they slice & dice it. Give your reason for not seeing it, and then maybe ask a few questions but don’t be lampooning a movie you haven’t seen.

    Was that a rant? Do I qualify?

  14. I support non-personal film bashing.
    Sometimes its very entertaining to read. ;-)

  15. Me too 790!
    I cant imagine why!

  16. Its all subjective like Vic brings up but I love to bash films that I think could be better or that just suck period.

    (Hey this isn’t communist china).

    Let’s face it ALOT of fans like Wanted and ALOT of fans spit on its grave.
    Notice that Iron Man, and Hulk have very few negative remarks, no why? Cause there good movies.
    Wanted is a subjective film in that it has problems some overlook them others expect better.

    If your a Wanted fan don’t expect 100% of others to agree…

    That’s all.

  17. I saw it yesterday. I would say it was 3 out of 5. Mostly, I had a problem with the F-bomb being overly used, especially by Freeman (it just didn’t seem right Freeman saying it). I have liked films that use the F-bomb and some of them used it alot, but for this film, it just didn’t work on some of the occassions. I went in expecting law-defying feats but like Vic said, a bullet going through, at least, 4 peoples cranium without loosing momentum? No, doesn’t work. What should have happened in that scene was the person should have fired the same number of bullets as the number of victims.

    I thought McAvoy did a good job as the nobody-turned hero-type. I thought they didn’t have to show his best friend having sexual congres with his girlfriend (and definately didn’t have to show it twice). I did like the scene where McAvoy is going through the room shooting up everyone (this was shown in the trailer so it’s not a spoiler) but I won’t devulge how he was able to use more bullets than his gun was able to hold. The way the loom was used I also liked.

  18. I went to see this last night. Its pretty decent, not amazing, but worth the watch. There was some good shoot out scnenes but apart from that I got bored and predicted a large amount of the outcomes.

    I knew I should have read this review before hand, but at least it stopped me from working for a good 3 hours.

  19. Man, did the third act fall apart?!? It played more like a video game than a movie or graphic novel.

    Something that doesn’t really bother me in most movies bothered me here, is the bystander body count…

    particularly the train.

    and all the fate crap took things a little too far.

  20. The movie is really a poor-man’s Matrix.

    On the training of the main character, 6 weeks (or less), I can buy that it didn’t take long for him to learn to use his ‘natural abilities’, but is one of his natural abilities to not be shaken up by death? Understanding it’s your duty or fate is one things, but all-out enjoying it (when weeks before he didn’t even want to shoot at an already-dead corpse)is a little psychotic, and unsettling

  21. Well, as someone here has already pointed out, movies are subjective. I for one liked Wanted very much, even if it seemed to be a rip-off of Matrix. It all depends on tastes in the end, just because some people liked it and some didn’t doesn’t make it a good or a bad movie.

  22. Alexius,

    Yeah, I figured this was going to be a “love it or hate it” kind of movie.


  23. Alexius;

    We can’t let you off that easy…
    We want your defense ;) Are you a Jolie / McAvoy fan or a gun to-tin Texan?

    come on, gives the details….

  24. Comes to no surprise to me. I’m an avid shooter so it isn’t too surprising that I did not want to see this movie. I will spend 100% of the time laughing out loud at the stupid things they do with firearms in the film and the general way they handle firearms. But even given that, I tried to watch the trailers while trying to ignore the stupidness with curving bullets in flight and sniping people with a handgun, and the rest of it was still way too stupid looking.

    My friend saw it, and told me how he killed the last guy (I don’t care, he knew I wasn’t going to watch it anyhow), and we laughed about it for quite sometime. Jumping cars, handgun sniping, curving bullets, Angelina Jolie, stupid gimmicky poses with firearms… yah, no way I would have enjoyed this movie.

    Equilibrium is as crazy as I’m willing to go, but it’s only because that movie did it with style, and Christian Bale handled himself very well. The “style” in this movie is far too gimmicky. I’ve seen far too many movies with bullet time, shooting while flying through the air, etc. etc. And while curving bullets is definitely new, it isn’t cool like the Gun Kata is… ;-)

  25. Guess what they are going to make a sequel! My eyes about popped out of my head reading that one..