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Thursday, March 06, 2008
Things Have Changed In Forty Years
Now, this mornings post aside, I don't really have any strong feelings about the Watchmen film. I just thought the pose and costume looked a bit silly in that picture. I personally doubt there was any pressing need for a Watchmen film, and think that it would be largely impossible to do a faithful adaptation of the comic into another medium, as part of the strength of the work is its masterful exploitation of the comic format. But I'm not the one who makes these decisions, and I've never seen any of Zack Snyder's other films so I don't feel qualified in guessing how this film will turn out. Let's say that I'm skeptical, but open to being persuaded.
By the same token, though, I'm not going to argue against people having a strong negative reaction to these early publicity stills. And so I find this needlessly defensive comment by Peter David more than a bit off-putting:
Y'know...maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the fact that when I was growing up, superheroes were represented by the Adam West Batman, and the ghastly live action Justice League. And yeah, there were the occasion bright spots (Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman), but then came the Reb Brown Captain America, and the Matt Salinger Captain America with the rubber ears and the Italian Red Skull, and the Spider-Man TV series miscast from top to bottom, with the clunky web belt and bracelets (to facilitate wirework, presumably) and the TV movie Daredevil with the black costume, the blindfold and the lack of horns because no one wanted to risk offending the religious right, and then Thor who was demoted from Thunder God to big ass Viking warrior...
I guess what I'm saying is that anyone who nitpicks this incarnation of "Watchman" with the obvious adoration of, and fealty to, the vision of the original book, simply doesn't appreciate the care lavished upon superheroes these days.
So, because the publicity photos for the film don't look as bad as the costumes in twenty, thirty and forty year old television productions, no one should be expressing skepticism about the look of the movie?
Sorry, but I can't buy that line of reasoning. Just because the self-loathing fanboys still feel the need to "live down" the Adam West Batman series, that doesn't make it the bench-mark against which we should measure all super-hero themed film and television productions. It is absolutely fair to compare these stills to both the comic and current super-hero films, and most of the negative responses I've seen have been fairly spot-on in their criticisms. And when the positive responses are as breathlessly out of proportion as this sort of thing, well...Let's just say that I'm more than happy to stay on the skeptical side.