The majority of summer movies are still unreleased, but I began my trail through this season’s “leave brain in the coat rack”-films with Timur Bekmambetov’s Hollywood debut Wanted. I didn’t know this was a comic adaptation in advance, but the thinness of the plot became obvious very soon into the movie.
In fact, I knew next to nothing before the film started – not remembering much beyond the cool vehicular acrobatics and vaguely assassin-related plot seen in the trailer.
And those two things pretty much define the movie. In addition to almost pornographic slo-mo headshots shown repeatedly. This turned out to be an unexpectedly violent movie – in addition to ballistics there’s lots and lots of other kinds of applied violence straining within the two hours of showtime. While the plots of summer movies are not rated on the same intellectual scale as more cerebral works of art, there are so many violations of common sense (and uncomfortable re-uses of old scenery) that suspenders of disbelief come unhinged a couple of times during the film.
And only the briefest look at the plot of the graphic novel proves that a lot of material was excised from the movie. Which is probably a good thing, since anything this complex would bascially demand an extended mini-series on HBO. Having quite liked Millar’s recent Civil War, I’ll keep an eye out for the collected edition of the six issue story.
James McAvoy’s evolution from a pushover to a top assassin is unconvincingly rapid (aided by an out of left field plot device). Somehow most of the actors seem uncomfortable in their roles across the board. Especially Angelina Jolie remains frigidly distant throuhout the proceedings, almost as if she were on autopilot.
Matrix and Fight Club are relentlessly stripmined for ideas, and especially the former’s themes (and penchant for flashy visuals) are repeatedly used.
The soundtrack is unexpectedly strong. While the use of a Nine Inch Nails-song is always appreciated, the highlight of the audio is the Little Things sung by Danny Elfman during the first batch of the credits.
And of the real summer movies, the two biggest attractions – the Hellboy sequel and Dark Knight looked nothing short of excellent in trailer form.