a Boy’s, Boy’s World
Of the summer’s many revenge-of-the-nerd fulfillment fantasies — from The Incredible Hulk to The Foot Fist Way — Wanted stands the best chance of dislodging Fight Club from fanboys’ Facebook pages. It has the same dizzying flipbook style, the same kicky ultraviolence, the same undeniable appeal of punch-clock payback — and best of all, no irony! Fed up with your shit job, your slut girlfriend, your shriveled manhood? Do what Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) does: Get inducted into The Fraternity, a secret society of assassins who preserve order (and apparently do a lousy job) by snuffing undesirables. Even with a well-deserved R rating, Wanted is the most juvenile of the summer’s comic book movies, and in some ways the most up-front about its stunted playground machismo. This is a boy’s, boy’s world, where the battle cry is, “Grow a pair!” and no more blood-boiling insult exists than being called a pussy. (Which is bizarre, because its most lethal ass-kicker is Fraternal member Angelina Jolie, whose dehumanized take-no-prisoners sexuality transcends gender the way a thermonuclear warhead overrides boundaries.) The director, Timur Bekmambetov (Day Watch), thrives on kinetic hyperbole: Cars flip like flapjacks, a speeding train plunges down a 1,000-foot gorge only to go faster. But the appeal of Bekmambetov’s style — that everything exists for sensation; logic and natural law be damned — is also its limitation. Even this Grand Theft Auto admirer can watch blood slung across the screen in fetishized slow-motion globules only so many times. (Citywide)—Jim Ridley
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