Wanted

‘Wanted’ directed by Timur Bekmambetov is a Russian-American action film featuring James McAvoy as the archetypical hero ‘Wesley’. The film was made in 2008 and was based off of a comic book series created by Mark Miller. Wesley, an irritated accountant embarks upon an unfamiliar path when he meets his mentor ‘Fox’ played by Angelina Jolie. He soon learns his true nature of his superhuman abilities passed down from his father and enjoins ‘The Fraternity’ a secret assassin’s society group.

Figure 1 ‘Wanted’ The story structure of Wanted can be interpreted to Joseph Campbell’s idea of the Hero’s Journey or the Monomyth, which describes the growth of a character into becoming a Hero. Within the Monomyth there are certain stages where a hero enters a strange, unfamiliar world and is challenged by different trails and tests which essentially build on their heroic nature of their character. ‘A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man’ (Campbell, 1949) . Joseph Campbell was strongly influenced by Carl G Jung’s theory of archetypal characters which is mentioned within his idea for the hero’s journey. Jung’s theory can be represented in many mythical, folk and fairy tales which show that certain characters with specific roles and personality types exist to serve to the purpose of the development of the central character/ hero archetype. The Call to Adventure This is where the hero receives information about the supernatural world which would act like an invitation into the unknown. Wesley’s call to the adventure takes him by surprise; he is told that his father he never knew of was an assassin who was murdered the previous day, and is immediately brought into an unexpected violent gun fight against the supposed killer. He is told this by his mentor Fox, an archetypal character which aids Wesley to be in control of his ability and to overcome his fear and doubt.

Film Review By Nadia Yadallee

Right before the fight ends, Wesley passes out and eventually wakes up in abandoned building where the audience is first introduced to the fraternity. He is informed that he can see and react faster than a normal person would and is invited to join them. The Refusal Of The Call Generally after the call is given, the hero refuses it due to obligations that they have committed to in the real world or fear and insecurities that the hero may have. However in this film its Wesley’s fear of the supernatural world, his nervous and timid characteristics get the better of him and he refuses the call to the adventure. The Crossing of the first threshold This is the stage when the hero physically enters the supernatural world, and meets the threshold guardian – an archetypal character that ensures the protagonist is worthy of passing the threshold. This occurs after when Wesley discovers an increase of 3 million dollars in his account, his progression in confidence becomes vivid in this scene and allows him to leave his job and enter his new one within The Fraternity. He crosses the threshold and meets the guardian ‘Sloan’ played by Morgan Freeman. The Supernatural Aid This happens when the protagonist commits to the quest, and a supernatural mentor appears to guide him/her. This happens during the stage of the crossing of the threshold as opposed to before, as Fox appears after he leaves his job and drives him into the unknown world. Test, Allies, Enemies This is the stage is where the hero faces a numerous amount of difficult trials and tests which challenges him/her which essentially builds on their character. In order for Wesley to kill Cross he must partake in the road of trials for preparation. He is seen performing in regular activities which involve fighting, free running and using a specific technique to curve the bullet when shooting. Approach To The Inmost Cave The inmost cave can be represented by many different things that represent danger or conflict. In terms of Wanted, Wesley is ordered to kill someone without any reasonable explanation, which leads him to doubt himself and the tasks he is currently performing in. However he is encouraged to continue when his mentor tells of her troubled past which enforces him to storm ahead. Ordeal The Ordeal can be an inner crisis or a test that the hero must face that challenges himself, the hero may also experience death and in some circumstances the hero’s reaction to the loss could experience a metaphorical transformation which can motivate the hero to fulfil his destiny. Wesley unexpectedly spots his arch enemy, Cross, and his new skills and knowledge is put to test when they fight. During the fight, Wesley almost falls off the train when it crashes, but as cross tries to save him, Wesley shoots him. Cross’s final words were that he was his true father. Reward After confronting his greatest personal challenge, the hero undergoes a great transformation into a hero. The Reward comes in many different forms, such as an object, a secret, unknown truth. Wesley’s reward was the truth, which was further established by Pekwasky a known ally of Cross’s.

Film Review By Nadia Yadallee

The Road Back This is the reverse echo to the call of adventure, when the hero returns to the ordinary world with his reward. The Road Back is represented as a ticket that Pekwasky gives Wesley to return home, in hopes that he would have a normal life and put the fraternity behind him. However upon discovering his father ’s secret workplace it motivates Wesley to do what is right. Resurrection This is the climax within the story, where the hero confronts his final encounter with death. Wesley goes forth with his plan to disrupt the fraternity and to get to Sloan his main target. He fights against the workers in the factory and finally confronts Sloan and the other members of the group. Wesley tells the members the truth that Sloan had kept, that fate chose sloan to be killed next. However Sloan admits to it, and reveals that every one of the members came up as targets. Fox, who had belief in the system acted out and killed all of the members of the group and then herself, while Sloan escaped. Return With The Elixir This is the final journey within the hero’s Journey, and shows the hero returning to the ordinary world. At first the audience is lead to believe that there is an unsatisfying ending to the film, when Wesley is seen hurt, broke and back to working in his old office job. However the audience learns that the Wesley who was seen working in his office was a decoy to entice Sloan. Sloan is then killed by Wesley.

Overall the story of Wanted strongly applies to Joseph Campbell ’s theory of the heroes’ Journey. Wesley’s change in his perception makes the story more adventurous and compelling; Cross who is perceived as the ‘the shadow’ archetype brings an unexpected twist within the film. Sloan the leader of the fraternity group warps and shapes Wesley’s perception of him by encouraging him to believe that Cross is a villain. However towards the end of the story, Wesley discovers that Cross is in fact his own father trying to protect him. Wesley soon realises the Sloan had deceived him, by using him and his abilities to achieve what they wanted as opposed to his, which would categorise Sloan into the shapeshifter alongside the threshold guardian archetype. Pekwasky can be interpreted to be an alternative mentor, once Wesley knows the truth Fox becomes a villain, she is no longer Wesley’s true guide, and Pekwasky provides the advice that leads Wesley on with his journey. The concept of perception is used wonderfully within the film, as well as use of effects and the visual language. Some may argue it’s farfetched and overexaggerated ‘Wanted is too bloody, too over the top, too silly, and too special effects driven. It's also excessively entertaining and fun’ (Legel, 2010) However Wanted does have a interesting story which involves exciting and entertaining scenes, compacted with great visual effects and a unexpected twist in the story.

Film Review By Nadia Yadallee

List Of Illustrations: Figure 1 ‘Wanted’ -

https://www.google.com/search?q=wanted+film&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei =qxVgUqCnOOqm0AXB_4HoCw&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=667&dpr=1#facrc=_&imgdii= _&imgrc=kKkTjVdPy5Qe_M%3A%3BuHbPUm0SBVceYM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F2.bp.blogspot.c om%252F-riHZdd0uxHQ%252FT99uAVSF1I%252FAAAAAAAAFCo%252Fltdc2RQ8oh4%252Fs1600%252FWanted2_1260805177.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmoviehypesa.blogspot.com%252F2012%252F06%25 2Fwanted-2-update.html%3B1280%3B800

Bibliography
Legel, Laremy (2010) - http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1174279-wanted/

Campbell, Joseph (1949) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth#cite_note-3

Film Review By Nadia Yadallee