Just before the end of the year a new Watchmen featurette was released on the web. No doubt to quell some of the fires burning up so many blogs about Fox’s win in court. This one shows a few more tantalizing seconds from the movie with the added goodness of having Zack Snyder do a roll call and brag some more about what a epic the movie is. The question is, will it be an epic FAIL?
Yes, the film looks right and yes, Zach would never have been able to land a job as director if he wasn’t able to say the right worlds with a straight face. But there are substantial reasons the movie may be doomed to be a disappointment.
(1) Batman, or rather The Dark Knight which may have shot the public’s load for taking superheroes seriously. There has to come a point where the public is satiated with costumed silliness no mater how well it’s done. The Dark Knight may have been Peak Oil.
(2) Batman and Iron Man may have used all the comic book fan luck that exists. I cannot help but believe that three comic book movies done seriously and correctly that all get critical and public acclaim coming out in the same year is too improbable to happen in any universe I’m familiar with.
(3) Batman, which may have set the bar too high. There already seems to be a strong countercurrent of resentment which could be geekdom trying to protect itself from the inevitable disappointment. I knew a lot of people who didn’t go see Batman Begins even though they would have loved it, because they had horrible flashbacks to what Joel Shumacher had done to the character. Watchmen doesn’t have that baggage but the reverence of the source material is much higher. This is the comic that comic geeks give to smart people who don’t read comics. I’ve already read one set of blog comments about this video where two posters complain about the spots moving on Rorshack’s mask. One says, “Why does Rorschach's mask transform like that? Because it looks cool I guess, and that's exactly why this movie will suck.” having obviously never read the comic. The movie is primed for heavy criticism.
(4) The story itself (finally one that isn’t Batman). It looks good but it could look great and wind up just being the trailer for the 12 hour Watchmen miniseries it would have taken to do the book justice. Snyder refers to the book as “supposedly unfilmable”. That’s not the right word. Un-translatable is what it might be. And even if he somehow manages it and it’s a work of genius, you just can’t put a gallon in a pint jar without losing 7/8 of it. Think David Lynch’s Dune.
I’ve been guardedly optimistic before each of the last two Batman movies but Christopher Nolan has taught me that I can love again. I’m waiting to see if Watchmen is going to break my heart.