“Six weeks ago I was ordinary and pathetic. Just like you. Who am I now?”
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a depressed guy who is on some serious medication for the panic attacks he is always suffering and working in a dead end job. His girlfriend Cathy (Kristen Hager) is sleeping with his best friend Barry (Chris Pratt), and both of them think he does not know this. He stays in a crappy apartment and his life is just an incessant loop of the same stuff, over and over again. One day, though, Wesley’s life takes a massive change. While collecting his anxiety medication, he meets a beautiful woman named Fox (Angeline Jolie), who tells him that his father was killed on a rooftop by the assassin Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), and that he has pitched to finish the job with Wesley. Naturally, he rejects this story seeing as he never knew his father, but is involved in a heavy shootout. Escaping Cross, Fox takes Wesley to her boss, Sloan (Morgan Freeman), who explains to him that they are a secret society of assassins known as the Fraternity. Wesley is told to shoot the wings off a fly, and he scoffs at the idea. He is told his panic attacks are not anxiety, but instead it is his heart rate speeding up and adrenaline kicking in, giving him superhuman abilities when it kicks in.
Wesley leaves the Fraternity, convinced they have lost the plot, but the next morning his bank account reflects that it is not a dream, as well as the gun he finds in his apartment that belonged to his father. At work, he disses his boss to her face and ends his “friendship” with Barry, walking out and meeting Fox, who seems to have known that today he would feel differently about the Fraternity’s proposition. They return to the textile mill that serves as headquarters, and Wesley makes it clear that he would like to begin training to officially follow in his deceased father’s footsteps and join the Fraternity. Sloan shows Wesley the Loom of Fate, the place where the Fraternity gets its kill orders. Wesley is unhappy that their “orders” come from some unknown place from some crazy loom. He fails his first mission, unable to kill his target, and Fox explains to him why they do what they do.
Soon Wesley is a functioning part of the Fraternity, always waiting for his kill order on Cross, which never seems to come, which is frustrating him more and more. After recovering his father’s gun from his apartment that his ex-girlfriend is staying in with Barry now, it seems that Fox and Wesley are a little more romantically connected than was previously shown too much. Leaving the apartment, Wesley comes across Cross, whom he chases down. The hunt is brutal, and carnage is left in their wake. Losing members of the Fraternity is difficult, and Wesley feels responsible. When he comes across Cross, things change when he shares something with Wesley that completely changes the way he perceives everything.
What is the truth? Is Cross lying, or is Sloan lying? Cross seems to have more corroborating evidence, but it goes against everything Wesley has learned. How is Fox involved? Does she know the truth? What is Sloan playing at, or is Cross just that successful at manipulating other people? Will Wesley kill Cross? Will Wesley return to the Fraternity with his newfound knowledge? Will Wesley continue on with his new life?
Definitely not the flick to watch if you are looking for something serious and dramatic, but totally up your alley if you want something fun and action packed, relatively well put together and entertaining. Wanted was something I saw years ago and have been meaning to revisit, if not for McAvoy alone then surely for the curving bullets, and finally got around to it after throwing my hands up in exasperation in the midst of studying when I got the the place of what I didn’t know then I was never going to know. This movie proved to be exactly what I needed. It possessed humour, though not overkill, it didn’t take itself awfully seriously (which could potentially have killed the whole vibe this worked for), and it isn’t long. The effects are pretty damn good, and the transformation we witness in Wesley after he discovers more about his past is awesome. He actually grows a spine, and that rocks! Angelina Jolie was very good in her role as Fox, I liked her a lot. McAvoy was pretty good, nothing to really fault there, though I must say I prefer his more in depth and intense roles (think Filth), but he delivered here nonetheless. Ever entertaining, Mr McAvoy – he can play just about anything across the board. The training that Wesley underwent was the only time that things teetered on the edge of getting boring though, there were a few scenes that just repeated themselves, but that was luckily saved due to everything moving along very quickly, and the movie being short. The plot twist also worked for what was coming, changing the dynamic of the movie. It is fast paced and filled with plenty of pretty damn cool things going on onscreen from the get go. Just the film to watch when you just want something entertaining, not too heavy, not too serious, not too stupid, and that looks good (cast and camera) and has some really good, thrilling action moments.