By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
I "wanted" to love Wanted, but I only liked it. It's Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups and you've never seen action like this before, but the script really could have used a polish.
It's cooler than The Matrix because it's total imagination. There are no pseudo-physics. You understand how the super powers work through visual comparisons of tunnel visions, and stuff, but there's nothing short of the fantastic as an explanation. Well, maybe it would be realistic if people were really this awesome.
In a way, I appreciate the gratuitous use of the F word just because they're already rated R for blood. Still, it feels like little kids repeating the bad word they just learned over and over again in the bathroom. What, nobody else did that?
A movie with such thrilling creativity should have language to match, at least language that doesn't completely soil it. I mean, there is such a thing strategic use of profanity for comic effect. There's no rhythm or flow to this at all. If the big moment is saying "F*** You," that's not really a satisfying payoff of a relationship turned about.
I really thought that Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) would be a whiner for about a half hour, then would man up once he went through training. That's how I got through the first act, but 90 minute later he still never stopped babbling. That doesn't represent the everyman in the audience. We're way ahead of him and all his basic questions. It makes it a little satisfying when they beat him, but since it doesn't shut him up, there's no payoff.
And could somebody please explain more things to the audience? Not only do they explain the same things more than once, but none of it is necessary. The visual style is so clear, they don't have to explain how it works. They don't have to explain the backstories. We get it. Maybe we're ahead of the filmmakers on this. Even the final line is so proud of itself, but we already got it many scenes ago.
It does represent sort of a rebel attitude. They don't care how whiny their hero is. They don't care how base their language is. They don't care how much exposition they have. It's anarchy!
You will want to watch it over and over again just to thrill at all the action. Then you can scan through all the explaining. So it's kind of like the action of The Matrix with a story like Pirates of the Caribbean. I'll tell you this much, it's not Shoot 'Em Up.