You can have your superheroes: the guy who intrigues me is Zack Snyder.
Hands down the most visually stimulating director working today, Snyder brings a blasting sensibility to the brutal world of these Watchmen, making even the most abhorrent violence intriguing for us to watch.
As he did with the impressive 300, Snyder takes pains to stay true to his storyline, a necessary decision especially here, since the original Watchmen comics and graphic novel are so beloved by their fans. Mess with these guys and all hell might break loose. Of course, all hell does break loose anyway: the conceit of neutered-down superpowers resurging on their own does lend for lots of gritty and gruesome blood-letting. And, like it or not, Snyder stages it all with a vision that is compelling, even if the story line is often not.
Besides the look of the thing, the most interesting components here include a nifty opening credit scene, which swiftly takes us back into the history of these Watchmen, wrapping up with a comic take on the cultural icons of the 1980’s. There are also pretty decent performances from Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup and Jackie Earle Haley, particularly when they are stripped of their masks and let fly. I wish I could say the same of co-star Malin Ackerman, but, pretty face and sleek hips aside, this actress doesn’t bring the mesmerizing power that would have made her superwoman, well, more super.
Especially in light of Snyder’s insistence on including the World Trade Center in the backrounds of several scenes, it is noteworthy that the tragic ending of this bad-guys-revenge tale is so devastating to New York City. Witnessing that, no matter how cleverly staged, is still all too real: and I, for one, wonder about its use as “entertainment”.