It’s interesting how Angelina Jolie has chosen to morph from real life heavenly Earth Mother to on screen One Bad Mother in this whirlwind summer blast.
Based on some graphic novels, and just about every other high tech hot season action blockbuster ever made, this is the “story” of Wesley Gibson, a meek office worker, played by the terrific James McAvoy. Even though this introduction is obviously channeling Spiderman’s beginnings, McAvoy’s skill as an actor makes it the most enjoyable part of this centrifugal force of a movie.
Ah, but maybe not for some, because when Angie shows up, not saying much, but relying on her considerable physical, shall we say, skills, there will be more than a few watchers turned on. And, oh yeah, there are special effects. Just like the ones in The Matrix. But, under the slick direction of Timus Bekmambetov, there are more of them and they push the envelopes only opened by others.
I couldn’t help but notice that there is an attempt at a moral here. And that is where, frankly, I had a huge problem with this otherwise blow ‘em away entertainment. I am not an automatic hater of violent movies. I laugh at what Tarentino and Rodriquez put up there. But this one feels very, very different.
The theme of “Wanted” is that McAvoy is recruited into a fraternity of assassins, talented people trained to kill anyone whose fate demands it. While there is a split second nod to the ethics of that kind of thing, not to worry; that nonsense is quickly dismissed and we are encouraged to root for Wesley’s offing of strangers. After all, he’s been told, it’s their fate–that young guy in the office, leaning back with a self satisfied smile, and the fatso puffing the cigar in the limo, you just know they had it coming.
McAvoy should earn new fans for his supple slide into the action genre. And Jolie will keep her hot reputation, in a supporting role as the sexual woman who teaches him how to ride the tops of subway cars. (Kids, don’t try this at home). Frankly, I hope kids don’t try any of the behavior that is celebrated in this movie. But that, I suppose, is just the kind of Mother I am.