Over the next few days, you’re going to hear a lot of complaints about what Zack Snyder got wrong in his adaptation of Watchmen. Well, we come not to bury Zack Snyder, but to praise him! Sure, the slow-motion fight scenes are awful in Watchmen. And the violence is ridiculous. And the acting is … er … uneven, to say the least. But let’s take a look at what Zack Snyder got right in Watchmen, shall we? Let’s enjoy the intentional pleasures and the unintentional laughs that the visionary director brought to the superhero epic to end all superhero epics.
What do we mean? Check out our spoiler-filled slideshow to find out.
Let’s start at the beginning! The much-praised opening credits – in which we see scenes from Watchmen’s alternate-history America – are pretty great, including the shot of Ozymandias at Studio 54, which we’ve recreated here. Guess who was in the background?
We were also big fans of the revised V-J Day-Times Square kiss, this time with superheroine Silhouette.
Okay, this shot of Dr. Manhattan snapping a photo of Neil Armstrong was pretty cool, too.
So clearly that cop is looking down Silk Spectre’s top, just as anyone would do.
Sleazy superhero the Comedian has prints by ultra-eighties Playboy illustrator Patrick Nagel all over his apartment? Of course he does.
Speaking of big laughs: We dare you not to crack up at the sex scene. Already over-the-top in the comic, but made even more awfulsome by Zack Snyder and the use of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Patrick Wilson is a really good actor. He has to be, to interact in a believable human fashion with Malin Akerman, who plays Laurie Jupiter.
Similarly, casting Jackie Earle Haley was a stroke of genius. He’s totally scary and touching as Rorschach.
It was nice of Zack Snyder to ensure the movie’s villain wouldn’t be too scary by casting a 15-year-old as Ozymandias.
We love Moloch’s funny elf ears.
Plus, he’s played by Max Headroom!
Faced with the task of making Carla Gugino (Laurie’s ex-superheroine mom, Sally Jupiter) look 67, the makeup department clearly punted. But what can you do? She’s Carla Gugino! She’s awesome!
Lee Iacocca is in Watchmen. And he gets shot! Zack Snyder has Lee Iacocca get shot right in the head! Has anyone asked Iacocca how he feels about that?
Considering all the gruesome, over-the-top violence in Watchmen, we guess we should just be glad that Snyder spares us from watching poor Hollis Mason get beaten to death by punks, as he does in the book.
Thank goodness Rich Little can still get work! (Just kidding, Watchmen’s Nixon is played by the even hammier Robert Wisden.)
Plus another one showing “Addicted to Love,” natch.
When Nite Owl breaks into Ozymandias’s office computer, there’s a folder on the desktop called “BOYS.” Rorschach’s suspicions confirmed!
Nerdiest celebrities (impersonated by actors, of course) ever: Henry Kissinger in the war room! Pat Buchanan arguing politics! And … Annie Leibovitz?! Yup, that’s meant to be her taking Ozymandias’s photo in a flashback.
No expense was spared to create authentic eighties dialogue. Dan Dreiberg: “Try on my night-vision glasses.” Laurie Jupiter: “These rock!”
While we’re on record as not approving
of the new, bigger Dr. Manhattan penis, we must admit we were impressed by the awe-inspiring slow-mo shot of three
Dr. Manhattans and three
free-swinging blue wangs. Our hat’s off to you, Zack Snyder: That’s
the work of a visionary.
The biggest change, and the best one, is, of course, the ending. Hooray, the giant squid is gone! The movie still climaxes with the destruction of a large swath of New York – actually, the movie takes out a bunch of other cities, too – but at least now it’s via the detonation of some kind of intrinsic field-energy bomb. Which sounds stupid, sure, but not half as stupid as the exploding squid did.