Low expectations are good; failing that, it helps to be awesome.
Wanted is that mythical film, even though this is a fairly hyped vehicle with big names, a movie with no buzz that pretty much shows up and kicks the shit out of the competition. Trailers or TV spots may have made you wary or made you think that this film is going to be somewhat fun but mediocre. Even the critics will have you believe that this film is fun, but they give backhanded complements while warning you away with claims that the movie is too dumb, too vulgar, too violent, too brutal to really be any good. The condescension rolls off the media in waves and the audiences may or may not keep showing up in droves to see it. But this movie is fun. Fuckloads of fun.
The critics will often remind you that it's a stupid story because it's based on a comic book. Some critics will even go so far as to say that it's stupid because it's not enough like the comic. Having followed up the movie by reading the comic, I can tell you for a fact that the film and the comic have about as much in common as Green Eggs & Ham and Citizen Kane. I mean, I know that both of them are in English and feature characters, but that's about it. All that's left of the semi-retarded tale of supervillains at war with each other is a few lines of dialogue and a framing element of backstory for our lead, who is instead enlisted into a league of assassins tasked with doing the murderous work of Fate.
Now, the film could go really badly and be even more stupid than the comic whose name it borrowed. Especially given its direction by Timur Bekmambetov, responsible for the adaptation and direction of the stylish but not very sensible Night Watch and Day Watch, who I'm still angry with for Day Watch. But the film is savvy, vulgar, and straight up fucking awesome. It cracks open your skull and shits Awesome onto your brain for a full two hours. If you don't like that, I don't think there's hope for you. The only people who won't like this are A.) people offended by vulgarity, B.) people squeamish with violence, and C.) fucking pussy-ass haters who just want to complain about good things while jerking off over mindless bullshit like the latest Indiana Jones movie. If you fall into Category C, please spend the next ten minutes slamming your dick in a car door. I'll wait.
If you can handle your carnage and dark humor with a happy grin, then this movie is the new high-water mark for film-making. As far as summer films go in this year of big names and even bigger hype, it blows away even the likes of Iron Man, who's left sitting miles behind it, wondering what the fuck just happened. It's not Shakespeare, but never claims to be more than amusing and stunningly good-looking headshot of adrenaline and bloodshed. Avoid seeing it only at your own peril. You don't want to miss it in the theater.