Superhero Movie Cage Match: Watchmen, The Dark Knight, The Incredibles

Just in case you weren’t aware, the movie comic fans everywhere have been waiting a long time for, the movie called ‘unfilmable’, Watchmen opens this Friday. Anticipation is very high right now and I think it’s a good time to re-visit our best superhero movies (and TV shows) Mind Meld from this past summer. Obviously, we’re focusing on movies here and not TV. For me, The Dark Knight and The Incredibles are duking it out for the honor of ‘best superhero movie’. Can Watchmen, once it enters the ring, take the top spot?


Even though Watchmen hasn’t been released yet, there are already plenty of early reviews. And, overall, the early reviews are mostly positive (81% at Rotten Tomoatoes). And fanboy Wil Wheaton loved it. But everyone loves it. Kirk Honeycutt of Reuters calls Watchmen campy soap opera, and calling it the first real flop of 2009.

I’m not sure, having not seen it, that I’d call it a flop just yet. But I have reservations about the movie that I think will keep it from hitting the heights of The Dark Knight and The Incredibles. If you aren’t a fan of the comic, then I’d say there’s going to be a barrier that needs to be overcome to really like this movie. And since it’s run time is somewhere just over 2 hours, a lot will have to be left out, making it even more difficult for the non-fan to care. The comic is a tremendous achievement of writing and illustrating and adapting it for the big screen is full of difficulties. I can see the movie very easily devolving into a campy mess. I hope not though.

My prediction is that the opening weekend, when all the fans come out, will be big, then the audience will fall off dramatically as the non-fans stay away. I just don’t see this generating the positive word of mouth that The Dark Knight did, and Watchmen is not as ‘accessible’ to the non-fan as Batman.

But being a popular failure doesn’t a bad movie make. Watchmen will stand or fall according to its screenplay and acting. The Reuters review makes the acting sound uneven, which isn’t a good sign. I hope Snyder got the most out of his actors and the adaptation we get is up to the task (SPOILER! Don’t read if you don’t want to know any more about the movie!: Although the giant squid has been removed from the ending, which, ironically, makes the fans mad but actually makes it easier to accept for the non-fans End SPOILER). I suspect whether you really like Watchmen a lot will depend on how big of a fan of the comic you are and how much of a stickler for the original story you want to be. That said, I’m definitely going to catch this in the theaters.

I’d say there is a chance that Watchmen can take its place along side The Dark Knight and The Incredibles as one of the best, if not the best, superhero movie. We’ll know a lot more come this Friday.

What are your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Superhero Movie Cage Match: Watchmen, The Dark Knight, The Incredibles”

  1. The only way to truly accept Watchmen as the mastwork it truly is, is to acknowledge the darkness in your own heart, and the hearts of all mankind. In short, if you can’t grok Rorschach, you’re gonna hate the movie as a rainy rip-off of the Incredibles.

    Any fanboi that can’t get over the absence of a certain cepholapod — as long as its replacement is true to the spirit of the story — is just as clueless. I’ll let the haters hate, but that won’t diminish my love of the film.

  2. Everything I have heard makes it sound like Watchmen will be the major success thar it deserves to be. Will that mean it fills seats? Personally, I doubt it unless moviegoers are really in for some emotionally scarred, mentally deranged sociopaths duking it out in the end times.

    But things being as messed up as they are in the real world… it may be the perfect time for this film to hit movie theaters.

    Worldwide war and economic/societal decline are in the forefront of the American mindset and that makes up the bread and butter of Watchmen in many ways. And even though the movie has been in developmental limbo for decades, without a series of successful super hero movies, could there even be reason to release a post-modern film like Watchmen?

  3. I saw Watchmen just three hours ago, I thought it was a really awesome movie, as good as The Dark Knight.  I don’t think I would choose to rewatch The Dark Knight as it was so dark, whereas I’d rewatch Watchmen anytime!

    I’ve never read the book, but I am a fan of graphic novels in general.  I had no trouble following the plot, and I liked that it was so dense as that means rewatching will be better than with most movies.  I’m trying to figure out where the giant squid would fit in the end, I guess I’ll have to read the book to find out!

    (How did Watchmen get released in Australia before the US?  We had to wait months for WALL-E to come out!)

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