Dismissing Wanted as a pure action film is something that I initially thought about doing. Everything it has, from the over-the-top action scenes, to the curving of bullets, to a magical loom that tells assassins to kill targets, points in this direction. And yet, that isn’t what it is. It brings up some important questions, and has a plot that has enough twists to make a successful thriller.
The story follows Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy), a seemingly ordinary individual. One day, while at the pharmacy picking up his anxiety medication, a woman (Angelina Jolie) appears and tells him that he is about to be shot at. After a lengthy car chase scene, Wesley wakes up to find himself in a room with many assassins surrounding him. He is told by the leader, Sloan (Morgan Freeman), that his father was a great assassin, and he could be just as good, if not better, with training.
This is what happens. He gets his training, and eventually becomes part of The Fraternity. He learns that the targets that the assassins are given come from a loom. The loom in question gives the names of targets in the weaving of its fabric, and can only be deciphered by the person in charge of The Fraternity. Wesley questions whether or not killing a man because of a prediction is morally wrong or not, and the response he gets is “Kill one, and maybe save a thousand.”
“Maybe” is a key in this phrase, and makes you already question the ethics behind such an organization. We are told that fate is behind the loom’s prediction, but can you really trust fate? Is it morally correct to kill someone even if he is going to do bad things to others? Wanted makes you ask these kinds of questions, and thankfully, doesn’t take much of a side either way.
It does answer them, but only in one way. Once the final plot twist occurs, you’ll have a good idea as to what it wants you to think. But, without going into detail about the origins of The Fraternity, you can’t really be sure. For the time period that Wanted takes place in, we do get a concrete answer to many of the questions. However, how did The Fraternity operate back when it first formed? Was it better or worse? These are questions that Wanted doesn’t answer.
Surrounding all of the questions that the film brings up is a flurry of activity on its surface. We are given many eye-pleasing events such as car chases, explosions, gunfights and even exploding rats. The gunfights are something that deserves further discussion, because they, and the magical loom, are key to determining if you will enjoy Wanted or not.
The gunfights in the film are not your ordinary ones. The assassins of The Fraternity can curve their bullets at will, allowing them to hit targets behind walls or other obstacles. This is where I’ve heard that a lot of people begin to dislike Wanted. Curving a bullet, like what happens in the film, is not possible from what I’ve read. Tests have been conducted, and it just can’t happen. The thing is, Wanted is a movie. It doesn’t have to be scientifically accurate. It can have its own rules, and as long as it sticks to them, there shouldn’t be any problems.
If you can’t overlook curved bullets though, Wanted likely won’t be for you. Some of the action scenes, one close to the end, in particular, will disappoint. You will be pushed away from the film, instead of drawn in like it attempts to do. Curving the bullet is an important part of it, and if you can’t accept it, stay away.
With that said, the visual effects look great. The fourth wall breaking on some of them gives humor to the film, while the actual visuals look impressive by themselves. Broken glass flying at the screen, the explosions–all of it looks great. If nothing else, there is always something happening on-screen to keep your attention. You could take Wanted as a pure popcorn action film, and it would still be enjoyable.
Luckily, that’s not all Wanted is. It asks difficult questions, and they stay with you after watching it. It’s a film that looks good, is entertaining, and is thought-provoking. The curved bullets and the fortune-telling loom might alienate some, but the movie doesn’t break its own rules. It has them, they are in place in this universe, and it keeps to them. This, to me anyway, makes it okay to have things occur that aren’t technically possible. It might be one of those “guilty pleasure” type films, but it’s actually quite an entertaining film.