Wanted: Film vs Comic
Before I say anything, Wanted was a cool film. I enjoyed watching it and thought that, overall, it was not a bad film. It was not quite a cool as say, Shoot ’em Up, but it was pretty much an entire film based on the Rule of Cool.
My problems with it are almost all story based. I have not seen a film for a long time that adapted the source material so badly. I am pretty sure that the writers read the comic, burnt everything after issue two and then replaced it with extracts from The Matrix and Bulletproof Monk. More about why I disliked it as an adaptation after the jump.
The first thing the film does well is that the hero does look like a pussy to begin with. It kicks off much like the comic in that he has a shit job, a shit apartment, a shit girlfriend and a shit friend who is fucking his girlfriend. As the film goes on, he gets beefed up mostly by getting the shit kicked out of him. The problem with him is that, even at the end of the film, he looks like a pussy. In the comic, Wesley becomes a takes-no-shit, raping, killing motherfucker called The Killer and looks the part both in and out of costume. If I saw the killer coming for me I am pretty sure I would just die from crapping out my entire digestive system. In the film, without the villain storyline, he never gets the costume and never loses the restraint he has.
Which is another thing. Where the fuck is my The Villains Won story? Apparently, we are still 10 years old and require the main character to be a hero and ultimately triumph over evil. One of the main reasons I loved the comic so much is that THERE ARE NO GOOD GUYS. Wesley is a super villain. He goes into other dimensions with his fellow villains to kill more superheroes for kicks. In the film, Wesley is not a bad guy. A bit of a dick sure but not an evil guy. Worse, he needs justification to kill someone.
As I said before, the villains won. They now rule the world. Because of this, they can cover up anything. You don’t like the chick on TV in a certain show? Well, if you are part of The Fraternity, you find her and shoot her. No Consequences. It is this lack of consequences that makes Wesley into such an awesome character in the comics. Now, as you might do, he does get bored of the killing and stops being a complete arsehole but he is still more of a bastard than the film Wesley will ever be.
However, the absolute worst problem I had was that film Wesley did not have a unique power and it was in fact the only power anybody had. On top of that, it was not even the comic power. I have no idea what this bullet bending bullshit was but it didn’t grab me like The Killer did. Just to compare, in the film the full run of Wesley’s powers was that he could go into bullet time Max Payne style and as a result could kill people easier. He was also a bit stronger and faster. Now to quote the comic on what that Wesley could do:
“Some of these guys cause mass hysteria. Others walk through walls, ride sound-waves or do freaky shit with mirrors and painting. But my super-power is just killing people. My special gift is just stopping people breathing and sometimes that’s scarier than every other power put together.”
The story itself left a lot to be desired. The loom of fate is just ridiculous and smacks of bad writing. Now granted when your film runs on the Rule of Cool story is just somethng to drive the action but resorting to mystical ancient cults guided by the hand of fate just rubs me the wrong way. They could have used the Villains Won story and just had it with villain vs villain like the comic. The ending, while involving cool fights, was also a good guy ending. While, yes, it was cool, it most certainly was not Wanted.
Well, I am done venting. But, before you blast me in comments, please remember that I do like the film and will be watching it again, I just don’t like how it adapted the comic.
I am going to finish this with a few panels from the comic that I am sad never made it into the film.
In reference to that douchebag friend of Wesley’s:
Remember that guy he had a knife fight with at the end of the film? This is that same guy in issue 2:
This is a character not in the film. This is also why I love him (click on it to view it full size)