5 reasons Watchmen is my favourite (and the best) superhero film

The year was 2009, the R-rated mega hit Deadpool was but a twinkle in Ryan Reynolds’ eye, and Zach Snyder released his best film to date, the screen adaption of the unfilmable deadpoolgraphic novel, Watchmen. And it was a bit mixed. People either loved it for its gritty, stylish, thought provoking take on the superhero genre, while others hated it for all those things. But you can guess which side of that I fall upon. Hell, I still think it’s the best superhero film ever made, yes, I like it more than any Dark Knight or Marvel film, and here’s why…

1) It’s a dark realistic take on superheroes that really tackles complex themes and ideas, while still being a straight-up superhero flick. Not a crime thriller with Batman, or a comedy with a guy in a suit, at its core it’s a superhero film and is about things only a superhero film could be about, ‘what if superheroes where real’, did change our worldrorschach_quote_2_wallpaper_by_tehgreyfawkz-d383cow, what would that world be like and who would those heroes be?
Of course this is all more thanks to Alan Moore’s seminal original text, but you can’t understate how hard Zach Snyder worked to bring the book to the screen as it’s whole self (it’s whole 215 minute run-time), and managing to make such a dense piece of literature so stylish and well-paced without losing a lot of meaning and depth.

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2) Snyder’s style is stunning (what the fucks happened); easily Snyder’s most confidently 345os5hdirected film, his key hyper-reality style that mixes CGI better than almost any film, works masterfully to bring the pages of the book to life, without losing the texture and grit. With the talent he showed here he could have easily gone on to be a blockbuster director like a quirkier James Camron, but instead he made Sucker Punch.

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3) The cast; the acting is top notch, with almost every actor born to play their character. Patrick Wilson bringing the likable dorkyness to Night Owl, Billy Crudup selling the tumblr_mkhjcoQy7V1rnqwsco1_250detached humanity of Dr Manhattan, Jackie Earle Haley embodying Rorschach’s grizzled insanity, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan embracing the assholeness of The Comedian, costume changes aside they walk right off the page.
Outside Heath Ledger’s Joker it’s one of the few superhero films with Oscar worthy performances…. all except Matthew Goode who was just too smarmy as Ozymandias, you could tell from the go he was evil so the reveal lost a lot of weight compared to the comic; he’s not bad just too evil. Now a young pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth would have been closer to the book, his more natural charisma and warmth making his dark motives a real shock.

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4) The music; Snyder’s use of iconic 80s tunes to invoke the era and themes of revolution 18m508t0woblxjpgis carefully implemented, from the iconic Bob Dylan opening credit sequence, the cheesy Leonard Cohen sex scene, and the sad Simon and Garfunkel funeral, Watchmen took seminal well known songs, and instead of being distracting fit them skilfully into the story as if they’ve always been there. Oh and the My Chemical Romance cover is badass, they really embrace the 80s punk vibe.

5) The ending. I am not to my surprise part of a small community that like the films tumblr_lg1pkquIZ31qej9fmo1_500ending better than the comic, even amongst people who have read the comic. The comic’s ending may work better from a plot stand point (some say), but the film’s use of Dr Manhattan in it’s climax comes from much more of a character and thematic place, and ties into Dr Manhattan’s dehumanizing arc so much tighter, and the ideas of nuclear war. It’s not just that I think the endings better than the book; it’s what that represents about the power of adaption through someone else’s vision, that making changes to original text doesn’t have to come from a hollow, money grubbing place, but from the texts itself…also the giant squid would of looked silly on screen.  But more so because it wasn’t Hollywoodised, it was complex and morally gray and left us with a message not many blockbusters have the balls to tell, that as people we will expect an easy lie over a hard truth.  We are compromised.watchmen11f-620x951

For a deeper look at the film and the comic, check out the Superhero Rewind on it which dives deep into analyzing the work.

Well not our most thorough post, but good enough for now, join us later this week and next week were we’ll…probably be talking about the Oscars.

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A Nightmare A Day: Day 9 (A Nightmare On Elm Street: 2010)

Director: Samuel Beyer

Budget: $35million

US Box Office: $115.6million

  • Ok, it’s the end of the road, I’ve got my DVD, I’ve got my laptop to type on, I’ve got my cous cous. Let’s do this!
  • Sudden thought: what if it’s worse than Freddy Vs. Jason?
  • OMG what if it’s worse than Final Nightmare?
  • Creepy opening credits, already feeling unsettled. The cast names appear on screen as normal, then appear written in the background in chalk in children’s handwriting.
  • Okay the first person we see is male. Kind of strange as I liked that Nightmare was female focused and yet never really made them seem like victims. Was a nice change. But still, I suppose 2015 isn’t as progressive as the 1980’s.
  • Or I’m wrong and I can just quit whining. Yeah, let’s go with that.
  • “i look like I haven’t slept in three days?” To be fair, to prepare for his scene, the actor didn’t sleep for three days to look suitably exhausted. Impressive, yes, but you know what’s more impressive? Acting.
  • First look at Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy. Looks more like an actual burn victim. Impressive.
  • This girl falls asleep at a funeral and is scared by Freddy-based images. Yeah, it’s scary, but you know what else is scary? Being very rude and sleeping at a friends funeral. Pfft, young people today, no respect, no manners.
  • “Oh my god, a picture of me when I was young with this person, but I don’t remember knowing him until high school”. You were just standing somewhere in the vicinity of him, doesn’t exactly prove you were best buds, you could have been photobombing him.
  • “open your books to page 84”, LOL, as if these people can read.
  • Kris falls asleep in class and there’s a pretty cool visual where the colour of the scene changes and her classmates disappear. Very cool looking. That alone makes it better than Final Nightmare.
  • Big scare for the character there is that her hair fell out. It might not mean Freddy is real, you might just have alopecia.
  • “are you gonna let me in?” Yeah, because who wouldn’t let someone into their room who climbs up to their bedroom window?
  • Next time she’s asleep she dreams of a school, lots of schoolchildren being all creepy and whatnot.
  • Oh, she’s dead. She’s definitely going to die. She’s being thrown around the room (possible homage to the first film) then cuts appear in her chest and she falls back onto the bed. I like this, there was blood, but not too much. The trouble with a lot of horror films is they think “blood” equals “scary”, so the more blood the scarier the death, so a single cut automatically gushes blood, I prefer it when it seems to almost ooze out.
  • Oh, Rooney Mara is Nancy. I dunno, I like Rooney, but she’s not quite in same league as Heather CougerMellacampaLampaKappaDappalIie (I can’t remember her actual second name)
  • Guy appears in someone elses house, covered in blood, and seems surprised when he’s accused of murder.
  • Random question: when a murderer comes in covered in blood, who pays to clean it? Is it the prison/taxpayer? Don’t let The Daily Mail find this out, they’ll have a fit.
  • “Why are you screaming? I haven’t even cut you yet” That’s a damn good line.
  • Random fact: Jackie Earle Haley was asked how he got into character for this film. His response: “sitting in a make-up chair for hours. After that you fell like you could kill someone”.
  • Ok, so this guy just died.
  • “Did you know that once the heart stops beating the brain can keep functioning for seven minutes? we’ve got six more minutes to play”. Holy hell that’s good writing. The idea that even dying doesn’t stop Freddy torturing you, you’re just left being made to fight an unwinnable fight with a time limit. Just the concept of that is truly terrifying.
  • “I keep dreaming about children”, careful now
  • Freddy just licked Nancy’s face, then holds her hand and says “you smell different”. Because that’s not disturbing.
  • “he died in his sleep” yeah, of blood loss, that’s not normal.
  • The guy from (I think) Jennifer’s Body dreams (during a swim lesson, totally safe) and see the death of Freddy. He’s being chased and hunted by angry parents as he shouts he didn’t do it. Now, Jackie Earle Haley seems to be playing it as an innocent person. What if he is?
  • “what’s the right way? Our kids go on a stand and tell a room of people what happened?” Yeah, I mean, a fair trial, where’s the justice in that?
  • What if he was innocent? Adds a completely different spin to the story. Freddy is no longer a perverted serial killer, he’s just really pissed off, and who can blame him. He’s angry at the parents for killing him, and he’s angry at the kids (who he’s now killing) for lying to their parents and causing his death. Means the line “you think you can turn back time? You think you can bring the dead back to life? I didn’t fucking think so” has a LOT more to it. It would also explain why keeps bringing them to the pre-school. He’s not taunting them, he’s trying to get them to face their own bullshits.
  • “We were five, we would have said anything. The things we said he did, the cave, did you ever find it?” They didn’t. Now the film itself is raising the possibility itself. Oh, this is good. This is very very good. Please don’t fuck this up.
  • Apparently Jackie Earle Haley would improvise a lot on set, just to make the other actors panic. That’s actually pretty brilliant and method. As long as he didn’t stab someone during filming, that would be weird.
  • Random fact: Jackie Earle Haley stabbed someone during filming. Ok it was an accident and only a small one but still.
  • Okay, I’ve just figured out this kid is called Quentin. Please Freddy, please kill him, to teach his parents a lesson about suitable childrens names.
  • “what if I say no?” “why don’t you sleep in it?” Dude, in this type of context that’s super rapey
  • Oh, it turns out the kids were telling the truth, Freddy was abusing them. Kind of disappointed, they had a chance to do something chilling then pulled out at the last moment. Probably to stop whiney fans bitching about the changes. Oh, and if you’re sitting there thinking “but fans of films won’t complain about stupid things that don’t effect the previous films, fans are smart”, then remake a franchise and make a character black, then wait for the online reaction from “fans”.
  • Kind of a dull death for Quentin. Shame as had some cool set pieces which would have really suited a death. The swimming pool scene, for example, if you’re a writer and can’t think of a good-looking way to kill someone in that environment you should just give up now.
  • Oh, Quentin didn’t die, just nearly died. He manages to stab Nancy with adrenaline, Pulp Fiction style to wake her up, she holds onto Freddy and drags him into the real world. I get the feeling this isn’t going to end with Nancy just shouting at Freddy.
  • Holy crap that’s a great ending! Nancy goes home and is thought to be safe, but Freddy appears behind her mother in the mirror, sticks his claws through her mothers eyes then pulls her into the mirror, the mirror sealing up behind her. Amazing end to the film, brutal, and looked brilliant. But the best part of it? It cuts very quickly to the credits, and the song All I Have To Do Is Dream

So, that’s it. It’s over. All I have to say about this film is: f*ck you I liked it. Haley is a fantastic Freddy, like a yapping tenacious dog. The story makes sense, had good inventive set pieces etc. Of course I’m majorly disappointed that for a moment they briefly teased a much better film, but it’s still pretty impressive.