Heroes and Hollywood: Screen Adaptations of Comic Books
There’s something that’s been bugging me for the past few weeks. Ever since the release of “Watchmen,” I’ve seen a lot of people and critics continuously belittling the film. I come before you now to say: really? You’re saying that “Watchmen” was disappointing? Now, let’s be clear. Yes, the graphic novel was better. Of course it was. The book is always better.
The closest thing to bridging the gap between literature and film has been the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and even then we didn’t get Tom Bombadil. But there has to be give and take with a story as deep as “Watchmen.” Even if Zack Synder had been given five hours, the movie still probably wouldn’t have covered the entire spectrum of the book.
Some complain that the movie shouldn’t have been attempted; the act itself was doomed from the start. But does that even matter? Just because there is a poor movie adaptation, it doesn’t mean that anything will be taken away from the source material.
Take the “Punisher” movies as an example; they’ve rebooted that series twice now, each time going nowhere, yet, they keep trying because there’s a fan base out there.
Why? It’s simple. Just because you made a bad movie, the source material doesn’t suffer. I think that’s why they keep trying to make “Fantastic Four” movies. The only thing I have to say to all the “Watchmen” haters is: STFU. I’m more than convinced that “Watchmen” was as close as you could get to bringing justice to the story on the big screen.
People complain about how there was a lack of “Tales of the Black Freighter,” but Synder went out of his way to make sure there was an animated version released (along with the awesome “Under the Hood” documentary), which will be included with the release of the “Watchmen” DVD. While I’m on the topic, I was relieved that they omitted ‘Freighter’ from the movie; not only did it feel unnecessary, it was pretty boring.
I suppose the biggest blasphemy many exclaimed was the altered ending Synder chose to pursue. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second. A giant squid? Really? I remember after finishing the graphic novel feeling quite confused about what I had just read. For how well-written the narrative had been to that point, the grand finale seemed odd and out of place. I felt that I had jumped into just another comic book story. So yes, I dare say that I think the movie’s ending may have been even better than that of the novel. It certainly made a lot more sense, and managed to bring everything back together, and made Dr. Manhattan’s decision to leave Earth that much more moving.
In the end, I honestly believe that what we saw in “Watchmen” was pretty much as close as one could get as a faithful version of the source. Too long have I seen some of my favorite heroes dragged through Hollywood only to re-emerge with bat-nipples.
But the important thing is just to enjoy the fact that you get to see this ink-and-paper creation brought to life. Sometimes fans get so caught up in storylines, they overlook how enjoyable just getting to see their favorite heroes in action can really be. And as long as there is a “Dark Knight” for every “Catwoman,” I hope that we’ll continue to see Hollywood take a stab at making comic book movies. Every now and again they manage to get it right.