Directed by Zack Snyder
Costumed superheroes confront an apocalypse they’re powerless to stop.
Zack Snyder probably should have kept his hands off Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ landmark graphic novel Watchmen, said Devin Gordon in Newsweek. The 12-issue epic, published by DC Comics in the mid-’80s, has long been considered “unfilmable.” Set in an alternate 1985, the Watchmen comic is a startlingly original “parable about power, a deconstruction of superhero mythology, and a multigenerational murder mystery with more than a dozen principal characters.” It broke new ground for the comic-book form. By contrast, Snyder’s “confusing, maddeningly inconsistent” film struggles to stand on its own. Snyder proved he could succeed at the box office with 300, said David Edelstein in New York. Here, he seems paralyzed by the book. To stay true to the original’s spirit, he moves the camera “as little as possible,” trying to re-create the comic book frame by frame. Parts of the story “come to fleeting life, but numbness overtakes all.” There’s no doubting Snyder’s devotion to the material, said Justin Chang in Variety. His movie, however, is “ultimately undone” by it.
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