I recently saw two really crappy movies: Wanted and Hancock. Yay me! Even though I’m into as true as they can make it drama, I’m the biggest sucker for sci-fi, comic book adapted, super heroes in tights, special effects action, fantasy films. So much so that I spent cinema money on the homophobic, xenophobe, sexist frat boy, one trick pony special effect action movie, 300. I even persuaded my lover (who warned me about the film’s real cred, that it did in fact received poor reviews from Rotten Tomatoes) to come with, and she’s not even remotely interested in fantasy. She doesn’t even like my beloved Battlestar Galactica.
Today, I’m just focusing on Wanted.
I was really excited about Wanted, because supposedly the storyline was reminiscent of the first, and the best, Matrix movie. The special effects looked incredible, and I appreciated the main actors.
Even though James McAvoy doesn’t fit the super hero type, and quite honestly he really didn’t pull it off in this film, I liked him in the Last King of Scotland. Morgan Freemen is the learned Negro for every major film, and who isn’t fond of Angelina Jolie (gay or straight).
But from the very onset of Wanted’s first scenes, I began to worry about the $20 I spent in a ticket (because after the 300 fiasco, I’ve lost all priviledges in chosing movies, and with good reason) a medium pop-corn and coke.
Like the Matrix, we find our hero grappling with his existence: doing the mundane 9 to 5, questioning authority, within the parameters of socially perscribed fear. Except Wes (James McAvoy), the hero, has to overcome his passive aggressive, apathetic lifestyle in order to take control of his destiny: to become, like his estranged father, a nihilistic super hero (NSH).
In order to become a NSH, Wes first must awaken his dormant powers. He does this with the help of Fox (Angelina Jolie) and the secret Fraternity that she belongs to. The Fraternity is headed by Sloan (Morgan Freeman).
During Wes’s transformation from passive aggressive, apathetic dweeb, to a NSH, he leaves his nagging cheating girlfriend (whom it seems was one of the ingredients to his stuanted growth), and finally punches out his best friend for sleeping with his girlfriend, and he stands up to his overweight, overbearing boss (another woman that’s seemingly holding him back).
Honestly, I felt like both the character of the girlfriend and the boss were too one dimensional, and didn’t realistically support the threat to Wes’s development as an individual, or even a dormant NSH as the plot would like you to believe. I think if he was so apathetic about his beat down life, then he probably be a complete loner.
Instead of a “nagging” girlfriend, he’d have some kind of weird activity that foreshadows his inactive super powers. They tried doing this with his panic episodes. That his racing heart and mind were misdiagnosed as symptoms of a panic attack, but instead were indeed his incredible ability to focus on speeding objects like the rapid movement of a fly’s wings, and be able to shoot them in motion without killing the fly. It’s kind of lame.
The story also portrays his boss as another overbearing nag, but the reason for her annoyance is solely attributed to her body image. God it’s so easy. It’s so easy to make a fat joke, and making it the face, the symbol of all that’s keeping us from achieving great posture and beauty. What a bunch of crock.
His boss could have been anyone, because it’s not about her or the lame stereotypes that the movie seemed dead set on using as the symbol for something much more complex and multilayered as realizing one’s identity. The story is about Wes, and his struggle for control of his life, not stereotypes.
The only woman in the movie who isn’t portrayed in a negative manner is Fox, but like every script ever written, she dies in the end.
Another reason Wanted’s plot sucked balls, lies in the rhetorical question as to why does Wes, a white educated man has to scream for empowerment.
The movie was so stuck on the boss, the girlfriend, that it never fully developed why it is that this guy with a college degree and a career in the field that he went to school for is stuck. It’s just not credible enough for my empathy, or any sort of universal affinity that I may feel, and thus imagine a NSH. Now maybe if he was a high school drop out working at Burger King, or an illegal immigrant passing out fliers in Time Square this premise of being stuck could fly.
There are four action, special effects scenes in this 1 hour 50 mins long movie that I enjoyed: the car scooping Wes into the passenger seat, Wes shooting the wings off of flies, blocking your enemy’s bullet with a bullet, and of course the best, bending the bullet around a non-target. Now this isn’t bad, but when the entire 1 hour 50 mins long film is dependant on just four action, special effects scenes, it’s just plain crap.
Wanted was pretty much a crock of shit. But what do you expect from Hollywood, and what do you expect from an action movie? That’s what people come out to see, action, and/or some hot dude, and/or the naked tattooed back of a hot chick. It’s just like in porn you forget about plot and focus on the sex.