Everyone raved last summer about an angry little superhero movie called The Dark Knight. What happens, however, when you make a more pissed off superhero movie and mix it with political/social commentary? You get Watchmen… a movie based on a fantastic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Say what you say about comics but this book pretty much invented the graphic novel genre and had a lot more to say than any issue of Spider-Man (or the trilogy of films for that matter).
Perhaps it was too angry though. The film came out this past March and, while some people saw it, it’s box office receipts weren’t too fantastical. Perhaps people didn’t get it? I mean, it takes place in an alternate 1985 (not like the one in Back in to the Future II) where Nixon is still president. The Cold War is in the air and superheroes, though once employees of the government, have been outlawed (sounds like The Incredibles but obviously that used this as inspiration).
Somebody Killed The Comedian (4/2009)
I think I can say with a certain amount of authority that children see rated R movies on a daily basis. I teach 14 year-old kids and they come in every day wanting to talk to me about whichever horror movie they saw that weekend. They wanted to talk to me about Watchmen too, only the few (and I mean few) students who saw it absolutely hated it.
I guess I understand why. It has no clear villain for a while. It’s essentially a mystery – we don’t know who they are fighting or why. Nor is there the typical origin story. There is no crime-fighting to be found, outside a one single short episode, and there is a blue man running around without his pants on half the time.
Perhaps it was to make some of them feel a bit stupid, or perhaps I was trying to educate them, but I decided to talk a little bit about the politics of film. What was the significance of the Nixon era, Nuclear War, Russia, etc. None of them had a fucking clue.
I was at a bar shortly after, talking about the film with some friends, who are much older than my students I might add. Now, I am not that old. I didn’t live through JFK and shit. But I do know a thing or two about American history. This novel/movie isn’t that complex to your average everyday paper reader but it seems a lot what was going on was lost to a good portion of the movie public. I guess that’s why people stayed away from it. It certainly had nothing to do with length (remember how long Dark Knight was?).
The purpose of this post escapes me for the time being. I guess I just wanted to write something about Watchmen from the persepective of a huge fan. I rarely rap about comic shit but this book is one of my favorites. And the movie is pretty fucking good too. In fact, I prefer it over Dark Knight.
So if it’s still playing in a dollar theater in your town, check it out. Or just wait for blu-ray. Give the book a good readin’ too.
And maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll soon talk about the new Fast and Furious soon.