Nothing to Praise

Wanted gets a 75% positive from the Rotten Tomatoes creme de la creme? Even the 64% rating on Metacritic is offensive. I suffered through this film; it gave me convulsions; I thought once about going to the head and throwing up. The Oregonian‘s Shawn Levy and New York‘s David Edelstein are good fellows who know their stuff, but what had they eaten or drunk before seeing it? After?

  • vansmith

    Beating up films is so not cool, especially when you know that people are going to come out for this picture. It’s giving the people what they want, good or bad. i’ll catch wanted on DVD as a guilty pleasure, jolie is hot with a gun, some special effects, morgan looking sleepy, the kid is alright, i mean it is what it is, dont get so worked up about it.. can say the same about Hancock, guilty pleasures. The movie business cant be all Fincher pictures or.. you get the point..

  • MrClever

    Am I out of it? Am I out of touch? Finished watching Wanted. I’m with Jeff on this: what’s with the disconnect between the high ratings and what I saw. I’m no film snob, either. Just can figure what others saw in it.
    Also, despite the fact that I’ve seen Angelina Jolie’s acting talents in other movies, in Wanted she never rose above who she was to ‘become’ the character of Fox. Every time I saw her on screen, I thought “That’s Angelina Jolie.” My second thought was usually “What’s she doing in this thing?” Morgan Freeman appears in a lot of stinkers, so I’ve let him off the hook by now.

  • http://www.antidisartsandent.blogspot.com K. Bowen

    I’m totally with Jeff on this one. I knida liked the ending. But before that, I was strongly considering giving it my lowest grade. I was shocked to see the praise.

  • EDouglas

    Perception is such a strange thing. I know people who found this refreshing and the best thing they’ve seen this summer (including Iron Man)… I wouldn’t go that far but I love the tone of the original comic and loved that it carried over to the movie. I’ll definitely see it again and buy the DVD.

  • TheJeff

    “The Oregonian’s Shawn Levy and New York’s David Edelstein are good fellows who know their stuff, but what had they eaten or drunk before seeing it? After?”
    I’m guessing they were under the influence of the same substance that you were when you saw Shoot ‘Em Up.

  • http://martiansattackingindianapolis.blogspot.com/ Josh Massey

    Oh God, Wells liked Shoot ‘Em Up? Don’t remember that.
    Finally caught it on DVD, and it was honestly one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

  • Ogami Itto

    I can’t imagine Wanted being much worse than Shoot ‘Em Up — what a revolting, stupid movie.

  • Krazy Eyes

    And I can’t imagine either of those films being worse than Smokin’ Aces.

  • http://scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com ScottMendelson

    Why I hated Wanted (yeah, sorry, a pasted review from my site…)
    During Tim Burton’s biopic, Ed Wood, Johnny Depp places a phone call to a financier who has just screened Wood’s first major motion picture. “Really,” Wood inquires, “worst movie you’ve ever seen? Oh… well, the next one will be better!”
    Timur Bekmambetov previously directed Nightwatch, which is one of the worst films of the last five years. Intended as a Russian version of the sci-fi punk genre popularized in The Matrix, Blade, or The Terminator, it was an incomprehensible mess of ‘cool’ that I called “the worst thing to happen to Russia since the North Ossetia school massacre of September 2004.” Having missed the sequel, Day Watch, I was morbidly curious about what this visual dry-heave and narrative wet-fart would do with a major American action picture. Well, at least this film was comprehensible. So that’s progress. I guess.
    Paraphrasing a friend of mine as we exited the theater, Wanted is a movie so shamelessly derivative of so many other movies that it ought to have a work-cited page at the start of the closing credits. It steals and copies and dumbs down countless action classics of the last twenty-five years. It swipes from, among many others, The Matrix, Fight Club, The Terminator, and Ronin, libeling each and every one of them by their inclusion. It has the sensibility of an over stimulated eight-year old boy who still fears the unexplained phenomenon known as girls. Wanted is the most willfully stupid and condescending action films in years.
    The ‘plot’: Take The Matrix. Substitute James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, and Morgan Freeman for Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne. Ok, now substitute ‘Wesley, Fox, and Sloane’ for Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus. Now switch out ‘Fraternity’ for ‘rebellion’ and switch out ‘war against the machines’ and ‘great hope’ and toss in ‘master assassin’ and ‘quest to kill various targets that allegedly threaten society’. That was easy.
    While The Matrix and Fight Club was occasionally subtle and always smart in dealing with the generational angst of males growing up without any real manly purpose in a slightly more feminized world (gross simplification, my apologies), Wanted is literally filled end-to-end with over-the-top and on-the-nose voiceover from McAvoy in which every plot point is explained, every emotional beat is repeated thrice, and every character choice is explained and diagrammed for audience consumption. Seriously, this narration is worse than Blade Runner and worse than Sin City. This is literally the worst voice over I have ever heard in any movie… ever.
    McAvoy is hilariously miscast as Wesley Gibson. While he is adequate as the put-upon loser in the opening acts (even there, he talks and whines constantly during the action scenes), he is ridiculously unconvincing once he allegedly becomes the master assassin who will prove the savior of ‘The Fraternity’. For most of the picture, Wesley Gibson inexplicably is obsessed with avenging the murder of his father, despite the fact that daddy abandoned him when he was seven-days old. At all times, McAvoy resembles your whiny little brother and really, who wants to see their whiny little brother become an expert killer in a super-secret society?
    Much of the movie’s advertising campaign has focused on the appeal of Angelina Jolie playing a vixin-ish assassin who engages in various forms of action set-pieces. But don’t be fooled. Jolie’s Fox gets one major action scene at the beginning of the film, but she quickly becomes eye-candy background scenery. The rest of the action either doesn’t involve Fox or has her passively observing the manly work of killing.
    For Timur Bekmambetov, women are scary, devious creatures who should not be trusted. Wesley’s current girlfriend is an abusive, trashy slut who sleeps around with his best friend. Wesley’s boss is a boorish and vile woman, both because she is in a position of power and because she is grossly overweight. Even the seemingly super-woman Fox eventually finds herself regulated to being the token female in the all-boys killers club.
    The much-buzzed about action has no sense of physics or suspense, rendering it boring. Morgan Freeman has but a few lines of notable dialogue and not a single action scene. The film is quite bloody and violent, but there is no weight or consequence to the violence. There is literally a scene where Wesley’s reckless and vengeful actions single-handedly cause the deaths of hundreds of innocent bystanders (this carnage caused by an allegedly covert and top-secret society goes unmentioned and unnoticed).
    We have horribly stupid writing, astonishingly insulting expositional voice over, mediocre acting, wasted talent, head-slappingly stupid action, and a sensibility that caters to pre-adolescent boys who still fear cooties. Yep, Wanted is the best film that Timur Bekmambetov has yet made. Good for him. Really.

  • Pinko Punko

    Jeff thought Shoot Em Up was so over the top it was an incredible joke, an indictment on the ludicrous action film. His review was as over-the-top as the film. Context, people. The two views are entirely consistent.

  • Griff

    I imagine the allure of “Wanted” is simply the spectacle.

    Would you like some bread with your circuses?

  • http://scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com Scott Mendelson

    Why I hated Wanted (yeah, sorry, a pasted review from my site…)

    During Tim Burton’s biopic, Ed Wood, Johnny Depp places a phone call to a financier who has just screened Wood’s first major motion picture. “Really,” Wood inquires, “worst movie you’ve ever seen? Oh… well, the next one will be better!”

    Timur Bekmambetov previously directed Nightwatch, which is one of the worst films of the last five years. Intended as a Russian version of the sci-fi punk genre popularized in The Matrix, Blade, or The Terminator, it was an incomprehensible mess of ‘cool’ that I called “the worst thing to happen to Russia since the North Ossetia school massacre of September 2004.” Having missed the sequel, Day Watch, I was morbidly curious about what this visual dry-heave and narrative wet-fart would do with a major American action picture. Well, at least this film was comprehensible. So that’s progress. I guess.

    Paraphrasing a friend of mine as we exited the theater, Wanted is a movie so shamelessly derivative of so many other movies that it ought to have a work-cited page at the start of the closing credits. It steals and copies and dumbs down countless action classics of the last twenty-five years. It swipes from, among many others, The Matrix, Fight Club, The Terminator, and Ronin, libeling each and every one of them by their inclusion. It has the sensibility of an over stimulated eight-year old boy who still fears the unexplained phenomenon known as girls. Wanted is the most willfully stupid and condescending action films in years.

    The ‘plot’: Take The Matrix. Substitute James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, and Morgan Freeman for Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne. Ok, now substitute ‘Wesley, Fox, and Sloane’ for Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus. Now switch out ‘Fraternity’ for ‘rebellion’ and switch out ‘war against the machines’ and ‘great hope’ and toss in ‘master assassin’ and ‘quest to kill various targets that allegedly threaten society’. That was easy.

    While The Matrix and Fight Club was occasionally subtle and always smart in dealing with the generational angst of males growing up without any real manly purpose in a slightly more feminized world (gross simplification, my apologies), Wanted is literally filled end-to-end with over-the-top and on-the-nose voiceover from McAvoy in which every plot point is explained, every emotional beat is repeated thrice, and every character choice is explained and diagrammed for audience consumption. Seriously, this narration is worse than Blade Runner and worse than Sin City. This is literally the worst voice over I have ever heard in any movie… ever.

    McAvoy is hilariously miscast as Wesley Gibson. While he is adequate as the put-upon loser in the opening acts (even there, he talks and whines constantly during the action scenes), he is ridiculously unconvincing once he allegedly becomes the master assassin who will prove the savior of ‘The Fraternity’. For most of the picture, Wesley Gibson inexplicably is obsessed with avenging the murder of his father, despite the fact that daddy abandoned him when he was seven-days old. At all times, McAvoy resembles your whiny little brother and really, who wants to see their whiny little brother become an expert killer in a super-secret society?
    Much of the movie’s advertising campaign has focused on the appeal of Angelina Jolie playing a vixin-ish assassin who engages in various forms of action set-pieces. But don’t be fooled. Jolie’s Fox gets one major action scene at the beginning of the film, but she quickly becomes eye-candy background scenery. The rest of the action either doesn’t involve Fox or has her passively observing the manly work of killing.

    For Timur Bekmambetov, women are scary, devious creatures who should not be trusted. Wesley’s current girlfriend is an abusive, trashy slut who sleeps around with his best friend. Wesley’s boss is a boorish and vile woman, both because she is in a position of power and because she is grossly overweight. Even the seemingly super-woman Fox eventually finds herself regulated to being the token female in the all-boys killers club.

    The much-buzzed about action has no sense of physics or suspense, rendering it boring. Morgan Freeman has but a few lines of notable dialogue and not a single action scene. The film is quite bloody and violent, but there is no weight or consequence to the violence. There is literally a scene where Wesley’s reckless and vengeful actions single-handedly cause the deaths of hundreds of innocent bystanders (this carnage caused by an allegedly covert and top-secret society goes unmentioned and unnoticed).

    We have horribly stupid writing, astonishingly insulting expositional voice over, mediocre acting, wasted talent, head-slappingly stupid action, and a sensibility that caters to pre-adolescent boys who still fear cooties. Yep, Wanted is the best film that Timur Bekmambetov has yet made. Good for him. Really.

  • quizkid82

    Considering all the hatred for the fat boss in the opening reel, I figured Wells would have loved this movie.
    The bit with the keyboard was great; everything else? Meh.

  • squealy

    You guys took the movie so seriously. It seemed to me that it was essentially a comedy, it was so absurd. I thought the tone was set by the opening scene in the office and the first assassination.

  • http://www.antidisartsandent.blogspot.com K. Bowen

    One thing about Wanted is that it’s not even that good at what it is supposed to be good at, i.e. action. The rhythm is all over the place.

  • Atrevido666

    I read the comic book series and liked it very much. Mr. Mark Millar’s statement that the movie was 70% like the book was not a statement of fact. The movie was maybe 10% like the movie series. The movie was a shoot em up and thats all. If I was rating it; I give it 2*’s. Mr. Millar did a disservice to the readers of the comic series. I will never believe anything he ever says about any other of his comic series that are turned into a movie.

  • Atrevido666

    I made an error on line 3. The sentence should have read as follows: The movie was maybe 10% like the comic book series.

  • Chicago48

    You guys are too analytical. This was a good shoot-em-up Matrix infused action movie. No more no less. I loved the Matrix and I loved this. Laughed my ass off….the same as Live Free Die Hard….just mindless popcorn movie fun. Enjoy!

  • meep

    Exactly. All this vitriol…. Why so serious?? I think some movie goers are overlooking the humor. Could it be that we are meant to be laughing through this film, not smirking at it?

  • http://www.film.com Laremy Legel

    I loved Wanted. Now, I hadn’t read the comic beforehand which many “Bois” are saying is much more sinister.
    However, Shoot ‘em Up was terrible. Smoking Aces was great. I think it comes down to cheese vs. cool. Wanted feels very cool. The music, the weaponry, the dialogue.
    Shoot ‘Em Up was just blatant manipulation, as in, well “you fools like violence? Here!” The film didn’t earn any cred at any point.
    I found Wanted to be along the lines of V, Matrix, and Fight Club. Purposefully subversive (remember the main “hero” kills a guy on faith) and with interesting conflicts. They wrote themselves into holes and had to logically dig themselves out. That’s far better than making up plot points on a whim, like most action films.

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