Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan, big blue wang, Papa Smurf, Krylon, spray paint, nudity, horror

Discussion (48) ¬

  1. Alexander Burns

    I agree completely.

    The action scenes really bothered me. Not only are Nite Owl and Silk Spectre the ones least likely to be gleefully handing out such brutality, their actions render Rorschach’s brutality – which should be shocking – impotent. And with everyone being so phsyically amazing, Ozymandias, who, again, should be shockingly awesome, not so impressive. All the fight scenes with Ozy lasted way longer than they should have.

    I don’t think it’s a terrible film, but they didn’t convince me it needed to be made. This same cast and crew (minus the idiotic action scenes) in a 12-hour HBO mini series, though? That might have been awesome.

  2. Joe Z

    My feelings on people’s reaction to this movie is that they all got what they were expecting. If someone was expecting a lovingly faithful print to screen transition, that’s what they saw. If someone expected to be underwhelmed by either missing material or lack of depth then that’s what they saw. This is obviously, not 100% true, but it’s the general feeling I get from reading people’s comments.

    Personally, I really enjoyed the film and I disagree with the idea that Snyder should have “made it his own.” I think his goal was and should have been to transpose the comic to the screen as well as the medium would allow. I think he did well. A few nitpicks aside, I felt like I was watching the comic. I didn’t feel like I was seeing someone interpret the source material. Additionally, my girlfriend, who is reading the comic for the first time after seeing the movie, did not find it boring or difficult to follow as I’ve seen so many reviews state.

    • Tom

      Joe, we’ll have to come to loggerheads on the interpretation issue.

      My question is, why is the movie marketed with Snyder’s name all over it if interpretation wasn’t important? Why label Snyder as “VISIONARY!” when he’s literally translating from page to screen? Any first year film student with a budget can use a graphic novel as his storyboards. At least the guy who had to film… I dunno… THE NOTEBOOK had to put a little bit of thought into what the costumes, sets, and shot list would look like.

      It’s a catch-22. Either parrot what was in the graphic novel and make the fanboys happy or slap your own interpretation all over it and retain artistic credibility.

      So it goes back to my original question in the review, “What’s the point?”

  3. Cody


    This is single funniest TH I have ever read.


  4. Joe Z

    Why label Synder as “Visionary?” Because 300 was well received and ’cause that’s what marketing departments do. If we’re going to critique the marketing campaign, I thought it was weak, but intentionally so. It wasn’t marketed as “this is a movie about people who dress up in costumes and beat people up would have major issues,” it was marketed as “Zack Snyder, who made a movie a lot of you liked, makes a movie based on a comic book that people really, really like.”

    That said, I’m sure there had to be a decent amount of thought on what to cut, how lines should be spoken, how to film whats between the panels, whether to keep or redesign a costume that was designed for a 1980’s comic book for a 2009 film, etc.

    I agree that it’s a catch-22, though. I think the problem is that once someone tries to makes it their own it stops being Watchmen, which arguably happens the minute you try to film it, but that can be said about any print source.

    I’m definitely not trying to convince anyone that they should like it. Like I said, I think the movie confirmed most people’s expectations, good or bad.

    • Tom

      Joe, I think that’s a fair assessment. Marketing does what marketing does.

      Incidentally, I wasn’t to hip on the costume redesigns. They looked WAY too modern for the time period – another incongruity when you consider how heavy a stamp Snyder placed on his music selections and their re-enforcement of a certain era.

      I keep going back to a quote from a movie when Ozymandias assembles the first meeting of the Watchmen:

      “It doesn’t take a genius to see the world has problems.”

      “No, but it takes a room full of morons to think they’re small enough for them to handle.”

      Watchmen was the problem. Snyder was the moron.

      Also, Cody, thanks for your compliments!

  5. musicalfingers

    Snort. Papa Smurf…

    I’ve never read the novel and don’t plan to, or to see the movie, but I must say I like the music they play when they show the trailer on TV. I usually notice the music before I notice the movie, and for some reason I love all of the music they pick for trailers for horrible, violent movies. I don’t like violent movies so it’s strange…

    Anywho, does anone know what the song is that they play over the trailer?

  6. Joe Z

    “Watchmen was the problem. Snyder was the moron.”

    Hah! Fair enough, man.

  7. Manda

    I have never actually read the Watchmen comic (which I do plan to do now that I’ve seen the movie), but I do know the plot and characters to the comic. Having said that, I liked the movie. It was not as epic as I thought it would be (like “The Dark Knight” was), but I enjoyed it and understood everything no problem. But from what I do know about the comic, I can understand why avid fans might not have liked it.

    As for “What’s the point?” I think the point was to prove 2 things:
    1.) That the technology now exists to make a movie from source material that has been deemed impossible to ever turn into a movie and therefore, that it is possible to do pretty much anything now.
    2.) That Hollywood can create a movie adaptation that is almost exactly like the source material; with most adaptations critics complain that the movie is too different from the book/comic/whatever and I think that Snyder & Co wanted to prove that did not always have to be the case.

    I don’t think that the goal was necessarily to make an outstanding and innovative movie but simply to accomplish a few things critics and fans have been bashing Hollywood about for a while. Does that mean that Watchem men should have been made, the way it was, by Snyder? Who knows. Does it make Snyder a visionary? Hardly. But now Hollywood has something to throw in the faces of people who criticize the previous points. Personally, I’d be more impressed if they’d make a movie that contradicts the statement that Hollywood can’t make anything good that is original.

  8. Jim

    You make a good point about it “What’s the point”?

    My expectations were low going in as well. I knew Snyder is all about visual flair and kind of an idiot, so I was expect a lot of depth to be missing. But it was the visual flair that saved the movie from being completely terrible.

    There were some changes from the novel that struck me as “why did that need a change?” – Rorschach telling his story about his transformation was changed stuck out the most. I thought his original MO in the novel was for more brutal and deprave than what he did in the movie and worked better for the character. The absence of Captain Metropolis during the first meeting of the Watchmen also grated me.

    The biggest gripe was the reveal about Laurie and the Comedian’s relationship and after that, Dr. Manhattan goes “The Comedian, Edward Blake, is your father.” Really? After all that, you really had to spell it out?

    Last one, but Ozymandias was way too effeminate. I tend to think of him as the intellectual who has gone beyond the need for sex. Found something more interesting, such as saving the world. Now people will just think he’s gay.

    Meh, enough nerd rage. I fell into the camp who believed the comic was unfilmable and Snyder was able to have me rethink that position.

    • Tom

      Jim, you make a good point about the visual flair being that what saved the movie. I agree. The movie has style for miles… but how much of that can be 100% attributed to Snyder when he used Dave Gibbon’s artwork as his storyboards?

      I know there are technical considerations to be made. But so far Snyder is 0 for 3 in the “originality” department. He’s shown that he’s very adept at pushing other people’s creations through his visual filter. But until he does something from his own head, I’m always going to feel skeptical toward him.

      I’m not so much worried about tiny changes like those to Rorschach’s origin or the omission of the creation of his mask. Some of that stuff just has to be dumped to fit into a 2 to 3 hour movie.

      But at the same time, if Snyder wasn’t busy jerking us around with stylistic non-pluses like slo-mo, maybe he could have taken 5 minutes to explain where the mask came from, y’know?

  9. Kerry K
    Kerry K


    I love your comics, and i usually agree completely with what your say, but i have to dis agree with you on this one. I have read the novel, and yes its a novel, four or five times, with cliff notes style detail, and i felt the movie did exactly what i wanted. It made the transition from the “unfilmable” graphic novel to the screen. There were certain things missing ( explaining Rorschach’s mask for example) but i still felt that the movie needed to be a 100% faithful adaption. I agree that Zach Snyder is not a visionary, as i would call Kubrick and Hitchcock, but if he made Watchmen his own, he would be chased with fire and pitchforks from his home. I also agree with you on the violence, he is a young director and known for his blood and gore interpretations, but as one example in the jail break/riot, i would have rather have seen Rorschach’s face been splattered with blood than the shot that was actually shown.

    I personally was looking forward to the super extended directors cut DVD that will probably be 5 hours long including the Under The Hood footage + Tales of The Black Freighter.

  10. TJ

    I’ve never accused Zack Snyder of being visionary. I see him much more as someone like Jon Favreau–a fan first, director second. And in that sense what Snyder does with Watchmen works. I saw it this weekend with two people who have read the book and we kept all looking at each other during the with a shocked glee of “this is actually happening!”. Tomorrow night I’m taking a female friend who’s never read the graphic novel to the movie. I’m wondering how different the reaction is going to be.

  11. John Eddy

    I haven’t seen Watchmen yet, but, it sounds like it has the exact same problem that the first couple of Harry Potter movies had, an overly strict adherence to the source material.

    It goes in both directions, the Catwoman movie sucked for many reasons, but near the top was a complete disregard for the source.

  12. ManwicH

    Saw the movie first. It was… ok. I’m in a small minority of people around KC that think that. Most people around here either think it was wicked awesome, with an equal amount saying it sucked monkey balls. I though it was a decent film but nowhere near the hype. I have since read the comic and want to see it again to make my final judgement.

    My biggest problem is that it took 2 hours for something cool to happen, (The prison fight scene,) and the movie was way to long, resulting in some pacing problems.

  13. Laura

    Ha. I really enjoyed this review. It’s just completely spot-on with the things that my friends and I have been saying about this film.

  14. Relaxing Dragon
    Relaxing Dragon

    Hehe, loved today’s strip. And the word Wang, come to think of it.

    Now, like I (think) I said before, I really enjoyed Watchmen. It hit all the notes I hoped it would, the cast was excellent (yeah, especially Haley and Cruddup, they nailed their characters. I also liked Goode, he fit the ‘hero and villain’ bit well), and the changes fit in well enough (debates on the ending notwithstanding, though I thought it worked). Music was a little odd sometimes (I know I’m not the only one who giggled at Hallelujah), and the slow-mo did get a tad annoying after a while (though I’m not sure what everyone’s saying about it being over-used. Compared to 300 it’s practically absent. Or maybe it’s just one of those ‘once is enough’ things for people), but I just plain loved the movie. Definitely looking forward to the Director’s Cut, since that adds back a good chunk of film and answers a bundle of questions I’m sure everyone has about cuts (Hollis Mason comes back, for instance).

    Now, I do have some defense against a few of your points, one of them being the violence. I see a lot of criticism against Synder’s use of violence, and frankly I’m not sure why it gets ragged on as much as it does. The violence needed to be hard and shocking, it needed to have the same impact it did twenty years ago when Rorschach broke a guy’s finger to get information (unheard of at the time, but practically expected by today’s standards). Needed to get through to the jaded audiences of today somehow, and to it’s credit it did (I consider myself a gorehound, and I still cringed at some of the stuff).

    I do see your point, though, about it being so close to the source material that it isn’t really Synder’s movie. And I could go with that. For me, though (in this case), it’s more a matter of “did they nail the source material” than him making his own interpretation. And I say they did. Which is good, since it gives the rest of us a better chance to interpret it. And given the flood of internet comments I’ve seen everywhere on it, we’re doing just that. . Just to hit the scorecard for a moment, I’ve seen a boatload of loved-its, a good amount of liked-it-except-fors, a good amount of didn’t-like-it, and at least one Haaaaated-it. It’s a rather polarizing film, as opposed to the universally beloved Dark Knight. Also, for the record, I prefer this to TDK. Just saying.

    • Tom

      Relaxing Dragon, thanks for your comments.

      I think you hit the nail on the head about how polarizing the movie is. For that reason alone, I think it’s in trouble financially.

      People expected to do $70M this weekend and it brought in $56M. That’s a respectable opening, but not for a movie that has this much hype around it. Word of mouth caught up to it by Saturday evening. I’d be surprised if Watchmen has any staying power after next weekend.

  15. psyberwraith


    Not sure which trailer you are referring to, but if it’s the one that hit me, the song was “Angel” by Massive Attack.

  16. Joe Decker
    Joe Decker

    I liked the movie, but I felt it was a little disjointed for me. It felt so close to the comic, but it also felt like I was reading Watchmen, kept dropping it and not being able to find the exact place I had left off.

  17. Joe Decker
    Joe Decker

    PS… I don’t know why but the fact that the paint was just haphazardly sprayed on and was splattered all of his leg had me laughing to tears…

  18. blurr1974

    Great review. I think you hit the nail on the head for me. The fight scenes were so well choreographed that you forget these are just ordinary people. Not ordinary people in the Bruce Wayne mold, but just folks who use guns and fists to do their job. i was really disappointed with the alley scene and the prison break out fight scenes (both involving Nite Owl and Sil Spectre II)

    Another aspect that gets lost is the ending of the film. Not the whole shift away from aliens (which I thought was well done) but the moral ambiguity that Dr. Manhattan leaves Ozy with in the comic. In the film, you get this sense that Ozy did the right thing, and the world will be a better place, where in the comic, Dr. Manhattan doesn’t tell Ozy he did the right thing and that it will all work out.

    All in all, I imagine I’ll see the film again, and probably enjoy it a bit more. Great comments by all in here. At it’s worst, this is definitely a film that has promoted some discussion (albeit, not for the reasons I imagine the director would prefer.)

  19. Mokona

    Note that I haven’t seen the movie yet, I’m basing the following upon reading reviews and blog comments. I have read the graphic novel, though.

    I think it’s really funny to read reviewers claim that Snyder hasn’t made Watchmen his own, or that he should have. I mean, when you see the costumes, the music, and the fact that despite not having powers, you see the protagonists do some pretty amazing stuff (I’ve read “running vertically on a tower” or something, and “high jumps”, etc.). This is Snyder making this his own. This is his vision.
    Yes, he pretty much uses the graphic novel as a storyboard, but from what I can tell, he made the movie a lot more action oriented.

    If Allan Moore had turned into a movie director and decided to adapt his own book, you would definitely have NOT gotten this movie (I know that’d never happen anyway, don’t get me wrong, I’m just proving a point here).

    • Tom

      Mokona, you make some good points. You’ve actually pointed out a bit of hypocrisy in myself that I’ve missed. Slo-mo, powered up “normal” heroes, modern costume designs, refined… you could claim that this was Snyder “making it his own.”

      I suppose if I was going to back pedal at all, I would say that he didn’t do ENOUGH to make it his own in the respect that he followed the storyboards almost shot by shot. There’s not a lot of cinematic vision to that. He basically just put Dave Gibbons art on screen.

      And if you claim that fanboys would be upset if he didn’t do the shot-by-shot adaptation, I counter that by saying look at Spider-Man or X-Men or any other super hero movies. Fans care about the details. They care that costume looks right and the origin is well told. But the movie origin of Spider-Man doesn’t have to mirror Steve Ditko’s layouts frame by frame. That’s where Snyder failed to make it his own.

      I can’t remember where I read it, but someone compared Watchmen to the Gus Van Sant version of Psycho – a shot-by-shot remake of Hitchcock’s classic. Again, with modern trappings, but artistically similar. So what’s the point?

      Trevor, good points about the ending – especially Manhattan being branded the American Superman.

      I suppose you could take a leap in logic and assume that since everyone knew that Jon had teleported off-planet that he had abandoned humanity and then maybe tried to punish humanity from afar. Certainly it could have been spun that way by the Americans. It’s just not explicitly laid out.

      In my review I said I was satisfied with the anti-squid solution because the squid ending is just so damn complicated and weird. Also, in the comic, it only affected New York City. Why would that bring about the end of nuclear tensions with Russia? Certainly not all of our enemies extended sympathies after 9/11. You needed something global. Replicating Jon’s power could do that

      Andrew, regarding the songs… I’m aware that the lyrics are in the book to punctuate chapters. But there is a VAST difference between reading lyrics on a page and having the accompanying music blare along with it. Music invokes certain emotion and memory. More so than lyrics, I think. The poetry of “The Times They Are A Changing” is much easier to balance inside a narrative than to listen to Dylan sing it because the song has the 1960’s stamped all over it.

  20. Trevor

    I disagree with your statement about the ending being satisfying (and keep in mind that I’m a purist at heart), as the ending raised far too many questions for me. Dr. Manhattan had been established as an emotional character in Adrian’s psyche profile, so how could he just walk away from being labeled as a mass murdered?

    Also, since Dr. Manhattan is associated politically with the USA, even though at least one of our cities were attacked in the flick, the world would still be pointing a finger at us for the fallout. Dr. Manhattan isn’t a random enemy put into the mix, he’s an “American Superman,” as they like to label him. Even though he leaves, if he attacked the world people would totally blame us.

    I thought the ending was sloppy, but again I’m a purist. Different people are going to think differently about it.

  21. Andrew

    Just a note on the music. At the end of each section of the book, there is a quote from a song. Most of these were the song that you thought were out of place and over the top. They came from the book. I personally thought they were done well.

  22. Relaxing Dragon
    Relaxing Dragon

    I think that, all things considered, it did pretty good for the opening weekend. I mean, it’s a tough sell movie. For other comic book movies, they usually use characters that either everyone in American practically knows by heart already (whether or not they actually read the comics, i.e. Batman and Superman), or more cult characters that end up as sleeper hits (lookin’ at you, Hellboy). With Watchmen, it’s a group of characters with difficult to pronounce names from a single mini-series that deals with mature, intricate, and difficult issues. Most of the audience is made up of people who’ve never heard of the book, never read the book, there because they think it’ll be a 300-like action movie, or those hardcore Little Children fans. I’d say the group that saw it who actually read the book is a minority (a large minority, but a minority nonetheless). When you sit in the theater, you can usually tell who’s new to the material because they’re the ones who start scratching their heads when Bubastis appears of out nowhere.

    It’s next week that will be interesting, since at that point it’ll pretty much be all word-of-mouth. The fans are still debating it, the non-fans either love it or hate it, and this will all impact who goes and sees it next.

  23. lower-case colleen
    lower-case colleen

    First off, I was all about the gratuitous full frontal male nudity. ;D Even if it was animated, I will take it. Bout time we evened up the score.

    I also agreed on pretty much all your comments here, surprisingly. I liked some of the choices in actors, did not like it in others. I did not like the gratuitously graphic violence. In what is otherwise a real and elegant plot, it came off as juvenile. I was confused at the almost-super strength and abilities of the heros. I mean, technically everything they did was in range of normal human abilities, but they ALL shouldnt have been able to. Its true, Ozymandias was supposed to be like that, and the rest of them just regular people with slightly better training. Anyone coming into the movie cold would have been confused that they WERENT typical superheros. I agreed 100% with the dislike of the music. Yeah its nice to have selected movies from the period, but none of the choices really helped describe the mood (except in the opening sequence, which was excellent). I expected brooding heavy orchestrals, not a mis-matched mixtape.

    I DID like very much how he switched up the ending. I think it works BETTER than the squid-thingy, which I always thought was rather out of left field thematically.

  24. lower-case colleen
    lower-case colleen

    urg, i mean *selected SONGS from the period.

  25. kit

    o my.

    haha great strip!
    haven’t seen the watchmen but im hopefully going tonight!

  26. Steve

    I have to respectfully disagree on a couple of points from some different people’s posts.

    Why would Dr. Manhattan walk away being labeled as a mass murderer? because the deed was done. Millions of people were dead, and Dr. Manhattan had two choices: accept the blame, and let the world come together preventing WWIII, or come out and prove he didn’t do it, which would leave the US and Soviet Union headed to war again, where more lives would be lost. Dr. Manhattan, with a newfound respect for life, had to chose between the body count where it was, or a much, much higher one.

    The Violence? It should be brutal and unpleasant, because that’s what violence is. In comics and movies, you see violence dropped down to PG-13 levels, with no real consequence. Spider-Man punches someone in the face with enough force and strength behind it to literally tear the man’s jaw off, but the man is unphased?

    Zack Snyder: Visionary? Yep. Specifically because he religiously sticks to what’s on the page in front of him. He’s defying convention. He’s doing what no one else really does, and that’s stick to the story in front of him. Comic Book adaptations tend to have a ‘Greatest Hits’ feel to them, because writers and directors pick and choose elements from 4 or 5 different storylines and mix them together to get your average comic movie adaptation. When someone does this, at best, you get The Dark Knight, and at worst, you get the Spider-Man movies. Now you may not have a problem with the Spider-Man movies, but their Buffet-style selection of story elements have screwed them out of (arguably) the most defining Spider-Man moment in history: Gwen Stacy’s death on the bridge. The bridge moment was in Spider-Man 1, and Gwen Stacy first appears in Spider-Man 3. Now those trains can never cross, and we’re robbed of seeing one of the most famous Spider-Man scenes in history on the big screen. Zack Snyder’s a visionary because he chooses to step back and give the fans what they really want: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen on the big screen, not Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. He chooses to please the hardcore fans first, and hopes the general public comes along.

    Choosing to let the original material be the star, letting himself become secondary to story, that’s the opposite of being the Michael Bay of Comic Movies. Doing something that no one else does strictly to please the fans? In Hollywood, that’s definitely Visionary.

    • Tom

      Wow. REALLY gotta disagree with you on your opinions about Zack Snyder, Steve.

      I agree with you that most conventional superhero movies have a “greatest hits” feel to them. But you’re not comparing apples to apples when you put Watchmen and Spider-Man next to each other.

      Watchmen was a 12-issue limited series. It was a stand-alone story. There are over 40 years of Spider-Man stories to choose from and, when they made it, the rights had been tied up in legal limbo for the last 10 years. There was no hint that it would be the success that it would be, so they combined the best elements to make the best picture they could.

      I don’t understand how you can say anyone who follows the artistic direction of someone else could be considered “visionary.” It’s visionary because no one else in Hollywood is doing it? That’s a terrible argument. It would be one thing if Snyder was doing something ORIGINAL that no one else in Hollywood is doing. It’s quite another when he “re-imagines” what someone else already created 22 years ago.

      What if I wrote my own version of “The Road Not Traveled,” but updated it to include references to cell phones and GPS. Would that be considered visionary or outright hackery?

      And, for the record, I’m fine with violence being brutal and unpleasant when it’s warranted. I hated the Alien vs. Predator movies for distilling rated-R violence down to PG-13 levels. But Snyder went too far. He sensationalized the violence to the point where it overtook certain aspects of the story. And if there is anything of value in Watchmen, the story would be first on the list.

  27. Louis

    On the comic: I love how there are already blue spray paint cans missing from the shelf. Also, I wonder how your skin would react to that… or how you would get it off?

    On the movie: is there going to be a Triple Feature tonight? I would love to discuss it there. I thought the music was really distracting – the “All Along the Watchtower” scene was probably the most annoying. The music turned into the foreground, rather than background to the images.

    I watched it with a friend who had not read the book, his review is a solid “meh.” The whole point was the telling of the story, and to be honest I wasn’t completely impressed with how it was told on screen. My friend came out of the movie a little confused because he had missed the one line where it explains that the Comedian happened to figure out the whole plot, and he walked out of the movie going: “So why did the Comedian die?” In the book, you are way more focused on the little details that stitch the story together, and those little details of storytelling were not emphasized. I personally think people who haven’t read it are going to walk out of movie theaters for weeks saying: “What the hell just happened?”

  28. Bishma

    I had a few minutes to watch this comic being colored on your ustream feed, and I still found the punchline to be a complete surprise. Good show ol’ bean.

  29. Jim Ryan

    I’m not sure about this whole ‘very faithful to the novel’ argument that folks are making. Consider the following:

    * In the novel, Dr. Manhattan solved the energy crisis by converting the American car fleet to electric through mass production of lithium. In the movie, everyone is still driving internal combustion engines, which Adrian was trying to resolve with Manhattan’s help (thus setting up the squid-less plan). This leads to a scene in the film and not the novel that comes across as gratuitous: The assassination of Lee Iacoca.

    * The condensation of most of the scenes in every character’s ‘renovare’ (a $3-word for flashback) to the Comedian’s funeral, trimming every other character’s remembrence considerably when they think back at their own lives.

    * The news conference where Manhattan geets spooked: Janey Slatter showing up at the event, dramatically pulling her wig off, was not in the novel (but worked well for the film).

    * Removing the death of Hollis Mason – OK, this is a mulligan, since it’s supposed to be in the extended cut of the film due out by the summer. That and a few moments of exposition to explain BETTER what Adrian was up to in the New Plan (which might make a difference on how to interpret the ending and what he was trying to accomplish) would be a welcome addition.

    The point is, there’s not as much shot-for-shot in the film as folks claim, and the distributors are crowing about to cover up the liberties taken beyond just dumping the squid. In fact, there was more shot-for-shot between WATCHMEN and DR. STRANGELOVE in the war room scenes than there was out of the novel.

    As far as the music, a few more 80s pieces would have helped, like the Elvis Costello pieces noted in the novel. And if they do a remake for the love scene, how about replacing the barely-released “Halleujah” from Leonard Cohen (who was between record labels in 1985) with the more widely distributed back in the mid-80s “Moments in Love” from the Art of Noise? Just saying, ya know…

  30. Liam

    I get the feeling that Zachary Snyder is sucking up to Alan Moore a bit by doing an exact copy of Watchmen since other directors in the past did not stick to close to Alan Moore’s other works.

  31. Ferric

    I wish I could sit and read all of these comments, but I agree with “what’s the point?” as immediately after I saw the movie, my friends and I all agreed on my one word review: pointless.

    I also sum it up this way:
    The Dark Knight had the Joker with the pencil trick (and many other scenes) that made you go, “Holy Shit! That just happened! Gross and awesome and amazing! I want more!”
    Watchmen did not have those moments at all for me.

  32. Garolyn

    First I want to say, Tom, I love your comic. I started reading it near the beginning, though I stopped reading webcomics for a couple of years, I’ve gotten back into them and read through the entire archive over the last couple of weeks.

    Second, I’d like to ask your advice, and that of other posters here, if they would be willing; Let me preface this with a little background: I think Iron Man is probably my favorite comic book movie ever; I loved Batman Begins, but I felt The Dark Knight fell completely flat (I feel like I’m the only one, but it’s probably my own fault- I tried to go in with my mind as a blank slate, but every time the Joker came on screen my head filled up with the “OMG Heath Ledger is so awesome as the Joker! it’s the best performance by anyone ever! it’s so amazing it killed him to pull it off” media blitz that surrounded the movie and it completely pulled me out of the experience).
    I just read Watchmen last week, and I rather enjoyed it, though perhaps not as much as if I could have read it closer to its publication / setting. I’m going to see the movie, but where I’m asking for assistance is in making the decision of when. I’m on the fence- Should I shell out the $30 bucks (ticket for me, ticket for my ladyfriend, snacks) to see it in theaters, or should I just wait and catch it on DVD. Would I be missing out on anything by not seeing it on the big screen?

    • Tom

      Garolyn, thanks for your compliments. It’s always nice to know that someone has taken the time to read through the entire archives.

      I would suggest watching Watchmen on the big screen. It’s certainly a unique experience and, really, what can it hurt? There’s certainly much worse films you could be watching.

      To that end, Rob, I’m not sure what you mean about not liking the film for the wrong reasons. It’s not that I disliked the film. There are elements of it that I liked. But the experience left me feeling somewhat neutral. And with the source material being so highly contemplative, lyrical and symbolic, I can’t help at look at the film as a failure in that regard. A wasted opportunity.

      Does it look pretty? Sure. But doesn’t Watchmen deserve more?

      I don’t think it’s fair to say “The book is one thing and the movie is another so you can’t compare the two.” The movie wouldn’t exist without the book. Either the movie represents the ideas expressed in the book or it doesn’t. If you extend your logic, a director could do anything he pleased with the source material – introduced flying cars, say – and claim “Well, the movie needed it.” Well, if it’s The Great Gatsby you’re adapting, you’re not really reflecting the spirit of it, are you?

      Visually, I think Snyder was slavish to the source material and (although I sometimes found it distracting as I anticipated the next faithfully recreated scene), that’s what I enjoyed about the movie.

      From an ideological perspective is where I think Snyder (or, more likely Hayter’s script) dropped the ball. There are just too many good ideas in Watchmen to cherry pick a few. And if the director compounds the problem by amping up the violence while applying slo-mo to the film stock (stylistic noise) it doesn’t help.

      I wasn’t looking for Watchmen to fail. I don’t think it is the “unfilmable” movie. I just don’t think Snyder is the man for the job.

  33. Kayne

    Watchmen the graphic novel was never really an action oriented comic. It was for the thinking man. The reason it was embraced so strongly is because it was about metaphors and subtext, not just about cool superheros running around and fighting bad-guys. I feel the movie may not have quite the same success due to so much trimming to make a viewable movie. So much of the subtext was abandoned to make way for the action.

    In my opinion, the trimming and alterations were vital to the construct of a decent motion picture. What was lost was a lot of plodding exposition and back-story that would have put the audience to sleep. Additionally Snyder ramped up the action, and over-cranked the violence to give the movie more intensity for a less discerning audience.

    Unfortunately, the loss of that plodding exposition and subtext has obscured or destroyed the universal truths and messages of the novel. The movie lies in some kind of nether region between action and drama, and makes it very hard to define.

    I absolutely adored this movie, and I think it may be the best superhero movie I have ever seen. Oddly, I also agree with all the complaints about it. I even have a few doozies of complaints myself. In the end, I have to judge the movie on it’s own merits, and leave the novel out of it. The novel is a very different creature, and still stands on it’s own.

    The movie is simply astounding, and I am sure I will be watching it again and again. It is not for everyone though. It is a movie not easily defined. Surely that will lack of definition will ruin it’s box office, and it is sure to offend many. The movie is challenging in many subversive ways, and if life has taught me anything, a lot of people don’t like being challenged.

    I don’t know if Snyder is visionary or not, but the man definitely has skills in the movie making department.

  34. Rob

    I normally agree with your opinions on movies and often nod sagely as I read them thinking, wow yeah, he hit the nail on the head, that movie really lacked X or that movie was really saved by Y.

    I am afraid here I must disagree with your review. I saw watchmen last night and loved it, I loved every minute of it. Not because it was “visionary” (which people should stop discussing, ok someone discribed the director wrongly, ignore it and watch the damn film), not because it was faithful to the original but because at the heart of it, when you watch it as a film it is good, it is very good. Compare it to most of the rubbish we see out there today and tell me the acting wasn’t good (Ok Ozymandius was one dimensional and “foppish” as you put it).

    You say that you entered the theatre thinking it would not impress you, but you will forgive me if I don’t believe you. Your entire review seems to be based on the film almost letting you down. If I go into a film with low expectations I am not looking for every minor character flaw because I already expected it, I am not looking for the director slipping up, because I expected it. It seems you almost willed Snyder to fail, and in willing it, created the reality in your head.

    I will agree that he took the violence too far, there were too many bone crunching sounds and snapped arms, but at the end of the day that helped me connect to the characters (sounds wierd right). It seems although Snyder is using the same style for fights that he did in 300 the violence is much less…..I don’t like to say this, but it is less cool. I came out of 300 thinking “Awsome!!! that was freaking awsome!! (obviously with later retrospection it was not that awsome, but that’s for another comment), I came out of watchmen thinking, wow that was visceral, they didn’t avoid any violence. The whole point of Rorsach is that he has seen such horrific things that he has lost faith in any kind of humanity, he hates the people he saves and hates even more the people he is saving them from. I thought his emotions at the end (no spoilers don’t worry) were perfect for his character and really helped me understand his psyche.

    If I had any major issue with the film it was that too many people have gone to see it expecting Snyder to fail and pick up on all the tiny isues with the film.

    As a story I think it has not suffered by being transferred to film. It is not the comic, it is a different medium, which nessecitates a different method of story telling. I say if you want the comic, go and read the comic, if you want the film, go and watch the film, or do both, they are two different entities (for all the emulation Snyder used) and should be treated as such.

    I thought the acting was above par, barring a couple of problems (Cough-Ozymandius-Cough) and I thought the visuals and the coreography were spot on.

    I am sure you will disagree, but I liked this film, and I don’t mind that you didn’t but I think you didn’t like it for the wrong reasons.

  35. Rob

    I think I may not have expressed myself well and reading back some of what I wrote did not say what I wanted it to.

    As regards books and films being seperate I agree it is either an adaptation of a book or it isn’t, so you can look at it as how faithful to the source material it is, but at the same time can you not look at the flm on it’s own, just for a split second. I think you should do both. Maybe it doesn’t come up to the standard of the book and so in that respect Snyder would not have done as good a job as he should have done, maybe he has not tackled the source material and the issues the way the book deserved, but I think that is down to personal opinion. What I was really trying to say is that film and books are two different types of media and so cannot ever produce the same experience. You can make a book 10,000 pages long and people will still read it, but if you made a movie 20 hours long I doubt many people would be queing at the box office. In the same idea you cannot tackle all of the issues in a book in a film, it doesn’t work and so as far as I can see Snyder has picked certain things to focus on, he has dropped most of the stories about the older heroes, he did not cover Ozymandius as much as the comic, but at the same time he gave us an almost perfect Rorsach and a brilliant Night Owl 2, he also spent a lot of time fleshing out the comedian, so that we understood just what the twist at the end meant and made Dr Manhatten a very tragic character who could not come to terms with the dicotomy of his human past and his god-like present state. As such this film cannot be 100% the same as the book (even though the still are the same, the character and pace are different) and that is what I was trying to say, not that the book and the film are 100% seperate, which is what it appeared I was saying.

    Out of all the book and franchise adaptations I have seen over the past few years this is the one that disappointed me least. I went into the theatre hyped up and expecting a blinder and as far as I was concerned it delivered.

    The dialogue was clear and well delivered, the script was solid, with maybe one or two unanswered questions, and the character interaction was organic and easy to empathise with. I enjoy losing myself in films and I found that I was joining Night Owl 2 in his impotent anger at the end, I also empathised with his being powerless and unable to resolve a situation he hadn’t seen coming. It drew me in and didn’t let go until the end, where other long films such as POTC3 were hampered by their length and clockwatching was one of the major activities of the second half in Watchmen I never found this. I daren’t look away from the screen in case I missed something.

    I was also going to disagree with you about Silk Spectre 2 as I felt the romance between her and Night Owl 2 (I’m really trying hard not to put spoilers in) was very organic and I genuinely enjoyed watching them relive their glory days one last time, but I think that was down to Wilson rather than Akerman, as he was wonderfully well cast. So I will retract that disagreement.

  36. El Baso
    El Baso

    First of all, I think Snyder did an ok job on Watchmen. He did the major plot of the series, put in some character depth and made a spectacular visual experience. Sure, there are a lot of things he should have done but in the end, he only had three hours to fill. I enjoyed the movie because of the high level of recognition and the flavourful adaptation. So far, I agree with a lot of comments on Watchmen. Look on the bright side: it could have gone awfulla wrong.

    But there is one aspect that really bugs me and it’s something that bugs with me with a lot of movies. It’s the score. I don’t care if Snyder chose the music which is quoted in the original books. He should have thought about the timing and the places of the songs. Bob Dylan, accompanied by the opening shots, was great. I loved that part. But 99 Luftballons?! (Mind you, I grew up in Germany) Hallelujah during the sex scene?! Jimmy Hendrix while Rorschach and Nite Owl are about to face Ozymandias?! Those songs were so much out of place, I almost walked away. Why not more Philipp Glass like in the trailer? Now there, there was a fine choice of music.

    Oh yeah, and I didn’t even mention My Chemical Romance and their hideous contribution. At that point, I really left the theatre.

  37. El Baso
    El Baso

    PS Greetings and a lot compliments for your work from the Netherlands.

  38. Nikki

    Just got home from seeing. I came here to complain about the song placement but Baso beat me too it. I saw the track list at B&N and I was excited, good songs beside the MCR song. I reread the book to put what song to what scene. When I saw the movie I felt like I had lost song placement bingo. Well, that’s be own fault for being presumptuous, I guess.

    Thing I disliked the most was that my favorite line in the book was butchered. Jon’s “Never ends.” line being delivered by Laurie made it lose all its power. The set up for her to say it was weak while’s Jon’s setup gave it impact. Though the setup for Jon to say it was muscled out by a kiss scene and Nite Owl II’s tantrum. So I guess I sound a little whiny. I know its not right to dismiss an entire movie because of one line, but that line meant so much to me. I thought it was important line to boot. Okay, end of whine.

  39. Jarrod

    Long time Reader, first time commenter saw some info left out of this whole discussion and decided to speak up:

    “What’s the Point?”

    Well according to many of the interviews I read, Snyder didn’t initially want to make the Watchmen movie. But eventually got his hands on some of the early scripts and plans that were being bandied about by the Studio execs. So rather than have some slipshod jury-rigged adapted monstrosity come out calling itself the Watchmen [much like the upcoming Dragonball movie], Snyder decided to take on the project and try to keep as much of the original story and world in tact as possible.

    And that is what I feel was the point. To keep it from being completely ruined by those who didn’t understand the material at all, and wanted to make a quick buck. And really, I do thank him for it, whatever I thought of his lack of vision, at least he preserved what he could before it spoilt.

    Example of such an interview:,,20259927,00.html

  40. Zeromark

    Tom, Tom, I have to say bravo.
    Is the last panel a silent tribute to Maddox’s “The Alphabet of Manliness?”
    That image is near a direct take on his chapter on boners.

    • Tom

      Honest to goodness, I’ve never read Maddox’s book. But I think I’ve probably seen that recoil picture somewhere else before. Maybe the collective unconscious.

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