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Watchmen vs. Dark Knight : RevolutionSF Has An Opinion
© Mark Finn
July 18, 2008

I gotta tell ya, the worst thing they could have POSSIBLY done was put the Watchmen trailer on Dark Knight. Talk about the sacred and the profane.

This is the thing: most of the superhero trailers these days (certainly this summer) have been leaning towards spectacle: the big, empty visuals that give Johnny Overbite tremulous Geek-Wood.

The Dark Knight was certainly no exception in its ad campaign, focusing on Heath Ledger being Creepy, Christian Bale being Pensive, and stuff blowing up all over the place. What restored everyone's faith in the movie was that director Christopher Nolan was at the helm.

And we have been justly rewarded. Every member of the geek nation owes him a love letter. For a Bat-movie to transcend the genre it helped create, and still keep every single ounce of its geek-cred, is a singular feat that we will not likely see again, and most certainly not in the Watchmen film.

I know, I know, "They're going to change stuff; it's inevitable, why bitch about it?" I'll tell you why: because the Watchmen movie didn't NEED to get made. It's not a spectacle, not until the last chapter, anyway. It's not about the licensed characters we all grew up with and, by extension, need to be validated by having a movie, which is the gold standard for legitimacy in our culture, made of character X.

Watchmen is the antithesis of that very idea, from the notion that Alan Moore doesn't want the movie made, on down to what the comic is really all about.

And that's NOT what we're going to get in Watchmen movie. Something tells me that the empty visuals we see in the trailer are just that: big, empty visuals. What works great, and became a showcase for Frank Miller in 300 and Sin City, is going to be toxic for Alan Moore.

It's a shame, really, because next year is going to suck for genre movies:

GI Joe -- bucket of ass.

Watchmen -- big bucket of ass.

Wolverine -- dunno. Shouldn't suck, but hey, they screwed up Elektra. How hard is that to do?

And, allegedly, we're getting a Gatchaman movie. Whoa. G-Force? There's a huge potential for suckage, starting with the cross-dressing villain in the Pointy-Headed Cowl.

And how could I forget, The Spirit, another property that didn't ask to be molested. Soon we can use a Spirit action figure as a "Show Me On the Doll Where the Bad Man Touched You."

Other than that, I must confess, it was cool to see Rorshach moving and talking. Conceptually, that worked.

Will it be enough to hold the movie together? See, there were, even in the trailer, a number of panels right out of the comic. The director has proven that he can do that, if nothing else.

But for a property like Watchmen, looks are the very last thing that you should take from reading the the graphic novel.

Did I mention we all owe Christopher Nolan a love note? I don't know how on Earth he's going to top what he's done with this movie. Maybe he can't. Maybe he can just logically move this story arc forward and let it play out.

I really want to tell you everything good about this movie, but honestly, if I told you how The Godfather played out before you saw it, you'd hate me for it.

But you can know this: Nolan has the playbook, now. Sam Raimi passed it off to him and said, "I screwed up my 3. Make us all proud." I'll follow Nolan's Batman to the gates of hell. And that may well be where we go the third time around.

RevSF contributing editor Mark Finn owns a movie theater. Mention RevolutionSF and get 75 bucks off a small popcorn!

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