The most interesting thing about Wanted is that its protagonist is one of the most unlikable action heroes in memory — a smug, self-regarding asshole whose honestly distasteful misanthropy is at least refreshing in a genre that often relies on charming sociopaths to sell popcorn. As the film opens, Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a hapless desk jockey working at a job he can’t stand for a boss he hates. (Somebody show this guy Livejournal, Facebook, anything.) He knows that his own girlfriend is getting screwed on the kitchen countertop by one of his office mates during the daily lunch hour. He types “Wesley Gibson” into Google and laments the returned empty page. He can’t get $20 out of the ATM because he doesn’t have $20, and he can’t get $10 out because the machine only dispenses 20s. And our little Sisyphus can’t get over the idea that, after he gets off work in the evening, he just has to get up the next morning and go back to work again. For those of us in the audience who long ago made our peace with real-world annoyances like earning a paycheck and polishing our résumés, Wesley expresses contempt in second-person voiceover. Presumably, dear viewer, you haven’t killed anyone lately — and that makes you a pussy.

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