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No real heroes

No real heroes
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First Published: Fri, Sep 02 2011. 07 48 PM IST

Superwoman:Jolie’s character in the film adaptation of Wanted out-fights and out-shoots everyone.
Superwoman:Jolie’s character in the film adaptation of Wanted out-fights and out-shoots everyone.
Updated: Fri, Sep 02 2011. 07 48 PM IST
It is possible at least some of Mint’s readers may have seen Wanted, one of those movies where Angelina Jolie plays Angelina Jolie, a tough-as-nails woman who can out-shoot, out-drive and out-fight just about anyone else.
Jolie plays Fox in the movie, the unlikely guru of a feckless James McAvoy. She is from a tribe of expert assassins and, so, it emerges, is McAvoy, thanks to his genes. Wanted rapidly degenerates into one of those save-the-world-as-we-know-it movies and by the end I was as bored as some of the actors going though the motions on screen appeared to be.
It must have been the movie that turned me off the comic books on which it is based. Last week, I finally downloaded them using the comiXology app and was pleasantly surprised. I shouldn’t have been, just as I shouldn’t have assumed the books would be bad just because the movie was—few movies are honest adaptations of the books on which they are based, and Wanted is definitely not one of them.
Superwoman:Jolie’s character in the film adaptation of Wanted out-fights and out-shoots everyone.
Written by Mark Millar and illustrated by J.G. Jones, Wanted, a miniseries of six comics, has a wonderful central premise: In a parallel universe, the superheroes have lost. The supervillains have ganged up against them, defeated them, and then removed their memories. The supervillains have then proceeded to carve out various parts of the world among themselves.
And Wesley (that’s the name of the character McAvoy plays in the movie) finds himself in the middle of it all. The books have him down as feckless as he is in the movies but that is where the similarity ends. He is not the wannabe-superhero the movie paints him as; instead, he is a supervillain in the making. Wanted is a wild, violent, rambunctious roller-coaster ride that reverses the traditional roles of the good guys and the bad guys. It is replete with allusions to other comic characters (and Wesley himself looks a lot like rapper Eminem).
There is a certain insidiousness and negativity to the portrayal of the characters as well as the dialogue that makes Wanted a different sort of superhero story.
I can understand why the makers of Wanted decided not to stick to the story as told in the books, but opting for a dark, inverted, violent tale of revenge and coming-of-age would have probably helped the cause of the movie which received neither popular acclaim nor critical praise.
The Wanted books were the first I downloaded using comiXology’s new app. The new interface seems easier and the home screen looks nicer but I had to re-download all the comics I had bought since last September. The real test of the new app, though, will be how it behaves with time, especially when it comes to organizing comics by story arcs.
R. Sukumar is editor, Mint.
Write to him at cultfiction@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Sep 02 2011. 07 48 PM IST