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Does Watchmen Stand a Chance With Non-Fanboys?

Well, the geeks have had their say, but how is Watchmen, really? This morning, finally, we got our first official, impartial reviews of Zack Snyder's opus. So is it as good as Harry Knowles says? And what will your non-comic-reading boyfriend or girlfriend think?

Both trades weighed in on Watchmen today, and while Hollywood Reporter's review is the more negative one, their quibbles are the same: It's too much like the comic. Watchmen is "undone by its own reverence," says Variety's Justin Chang:

There’s no question that “Watchmen” reps some sort of ultimate fanboy’s delight. Whether it’s Dreiberg’s flying owl ship or the staggering glass palace Dr. Manhattan conjures up on Mars, the filmmakers have spared no expense in their mission to visualize every last frame ... Yet, there’s simply no room for these characters and stories to breathe of their own accord, and even the most fastidiously replicated scenes can feel glib and truncated.


Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt is even more damning:

[Watchmen's] costumed superheroes, operating in an alternative 1985, are seriously screwed up — and so is their movie ... If you're not already invested in these characters because of the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, nothing this movie does is likely to change that predicament ... Snyder and writers David Hayter and Alex Tse never find a reason for those unfamiliar with the graphic novel to care about any of this nonsense. And it is nonsense. When one superhero has to take a Zen break, he does so on Mars. Of course he does.


So what of Watchmen's commercial prospects? "After a victorious opening weekend, the pic’s B.O. future looks promising but uncertain," says Variety. Says HR: "Looks like we have the first real flop of 2009." This all sounds okay to us, though — we liked the comic, plus our girlfriend still owes us one for Mamma Mia!.

Film Review: Watchmen [HR]
Watchmen [Variety]

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.