Based on a comic book series by Mark Millar and JG Jones, 'Wanted' provides us with plenty of action and excitement, some great characters and the ultimate hero transformation. And what it sometimes lacks in terms of intrigue it makes up for in fast-paced fight scenes.
Wesley Gibson (McAvoy) is an everyman... no, worse... he's an any man. He plods through life avoiding confrontation, blending into the background and allowing himself to be used as a doormat. He hates his life but he doesn't have the energy or enthusiasm to change it. But he might not have a choice anymore because somebody wants to change his life for him.
The Fraternity of Assassins has been righting wrongs for a thousand years, issuing punishments and revenge attacks as it sees fit. And, since Wesley's father was one of their most valued assassins, they want him on board too. But Wesley is clueless. He's not a born fighter, he lacks that killer instinct and he suffers from anxiety attacks. But the Fraternity believes that he has what it takes to become a professional hitman. Cue much training, broken bones, blood-spitting and random violence, with kingpin Sloan (Freeman) entrusting Fox (Jolie) to prepare the new recruit for action.
If you were to try to think of the most unlikely action hero ever, chances are James McAvoy would make the list, and pretty near the top too. He doesn't seem to fit the bill at all, yet as this film progresses he'll grow on you more and more. He's the ultimate nerdy, downtrodden guy... ripe for training to become a killing machine it would seem. McAvoy's ability to play apathetic works really well here. You should hate his indifference to the wrongs going on under his nose but somehow you find sympathy for him.
Leading lady Angelina Jolie looks the part in her figure-hugging outfits and is as convincing as she needs to be in her tough assassin role, while Morgan Freeman's delivers his life or death orders with measured control.
'Wanted' is pure action, start to finish. Guns, knives, bloodshed and acrobatics... it's all here. Granted there isn't much of a storyline when it's all said and done, certainly nothing too clever to keep you guessing, but that doesn't seem to matter much if it's just an action fix you're after.