A good rule of thumb is that a critic’s interest in a movie is inversely proportionate to the amount of space his review devotes to describing the plot. Which is why it’s kind of depressing that the Hobereview of Watchmen is the Voice‘s cover story this week — aside from a much-needed jibe at those “visionary director” posters, it’s the most “meh” response you’ll ever read. Why does “meh” about the biggest movie of, what, March warrant a cover story?
Anyway. It’s not a good movie, as I discuss in the current issue. Partly because the script has no ideas of its own, which defeats the purpose of the very skeptical source material; partly because every movie Zack Snyder makes is a chronic masturbator’s fantasy of manhood, all blood-spurting war games and porn-fed fucking. (Aside from being adolescent, this, too, is a bit counter to the original’s skeptical-of-adolescent-distractions attitude.)
You’ve heard, not unfairly, that Watchmen is mostly just an inertly faithful transcription of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ original comic. But upon reflection, it’s actually less faithful to the original comic than it is to some platonic ideal of the comic’s fanbase. I hate to take Armond White and Anthony Lane‘s side here — because, unlike them, I love the comic — but this Watchmen knows its ideal viewer: he’s drooling over the source, protective and angry about any changes, awed by Big Ideas, and always up for a bit of “totally extreme” violence or ogling of some plastic bodacious fantasy babe.
This ideal viewer, incidentally, looks a lot like Kyle Smith.