PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

July 19, 2008

Movie and Comic Book Review – Wanted

Filed under: Entertainment — CPav @ 12:41 pm

Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman, is loosely adapted from a six-issue comic book series published by Image Comics’ Top Cow imprint back in 2003. I hadn’t read the comic book before seeing the movie, but the movie made me curious, so I read it shortly after. So, in something of a departure, I’m going to review both here.

Wanted the movie, as noted, stars McAvoy (Atonement) as Wesley Gibson, a young cubicle dweller with not many prospects. His job is a drudge, his boss is overbearing, and his girlfriend is schtupping his best friend (and he’s paying for their condoms). One day at the pharmacist’s counter, as he’s paying for his anxiety medicine, he’s approached by the mysterious Fox (Jolie), and soon finds himself in the middle of a gun battle and a car chase. Fox tells him that the father who he’s never known was in reality a master assassin, and that the man they’re battling has murdered him. Soon, he finds himself enlisted into the Fraternity, a league of assassins who take their orders from the mysterious Sloan (Freeman), training to become an assassin to avenge his father, and attempting to stay one step ahead of his prey.

Wanted requires a tremendous suspension of disbelief, accepting everything from mud baths that heal injuries to curving bullets and physics-defying car chases, but if you’re willing to suspend, you’ll be richly rewarded; the movie is a joy ride of twists and turns, with some really neat action sequences, and an intriguing “agents of fate” sort of setup. McAvoy is convincing as the schlub-turned-action star, and Jolie and Freeman are their usual excellant selves, though I’m always disconcerted for some reason when Jolie doesn’t speak with an accent.

All in all, Wanted is a fine summer action flick, overly violent and extremely frenetic, but with good performances and some ground-breaking action scenes.

Wanted the comic book shares a couple things with the movie: its title, its “son taking the place of and avenging the father he never knew” basic plot, and the names of the two main characters. Outside of that, the two are very different animals. Wesley Gibson’s backstory is the same, but rather than a Fraternity of assassins, Fox introduces him into a sort of super-villain mafia.

It would seem that, many years ago, the villains finally vanquished the heroes, and disappeared underground. They divided the inhabitable continents under a handful of villain “families”, and operated under the radar, paying off the media and the authorities to keep their actions secret. Now, years later, the families are divided. One faction wants to begin operating in the open, reveling in the fear of the populace, while the other wants to keep their good thing going.

Where the movie version presents a somewhat sympathetic cadre of characters doing reprehensible things, the comic book doesn’t. The characters are utterly venal, admitted villains out to benefit only themselves and dedicated to maintaining their lifestyle. I’ve never been much for the unrepentant anti-hero, and that’s pretty much what’s happening here.

As much as I enjoyed the movie, I didn’t care for the comic book.

The 300 Project: 4/121

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