As we enter the final week of what has been a seemingly interminable period of Watchmen prerelease marketing hype, we’ll admit that our high expectations for the film have been somewhat tempered by the early reactions that hit the Internets last week (our own David Edelstein called the movie “an awe-inspiring corpse”). Harry Knowles’s undying affection aside, we can’t help but think that industry insiders will be lowering their projections for how the film will open as the week progresses. Not really helping matters much, “visionary” director Zack Snyder went on the record in an interview with the Los Angeles Times this weekend stating his ultimate desire for the long-gestating project: “We’re killing the comic-book movie, we’re ending it. This movie is the last comic-book movie, for good or bad.”
Don’t worry, fanboys, Hollywood has no intentions of putting an end to one of the most audience-pleasing film genres they’ve got going these days. And besides, if the genre was able to survive mid-nineties atrocities like The Shadow and The Phantom, there’s really no way that Watchmen could kill it, no matter what the film’s Rotten Tomatoes rating ends up being. What Snyder is really talking about is the darkness at the core of the subject:
“[The success of The Dark Knight] means that deconstruction of the superhero is something you can do. All those movies have led to a point where we can finally have Watchmen with a Superman character who doesn’t want to save the world and a Batman who has trouble in bed. Essentially, I want to kill the superhero movie because now we can.”
Somehow, we don’t think that was the pitch that Snyder used to get the project made in the first place. And besides, if his admission that the film is the anti-comic-book movie doesn’t strike fear in the hearts of box-office prognosticators everywhere, don’t forget about the not-so-little matter of Dr. Manhattan’s “massive and uncircumcised” penis. We can’t imagine that will exactly get the crowds lining up out in the Heartlands.