So the big movie right now (at least for comic book fans) is Watchmen, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Over at a forum I frequent, a vote was cast for a “book of the month” discussion and guess what won?
You got it.
I have mixed feelings about a graphic novel (basically, a big comic) as a book of the month discussion. I’m not adverse to reading them, I just don’t believe they have as much meat as a real book. No, scratch that, they don’t have as much meat as a real book. That’s not to say they aren’t enjoyable, or worthy of discussion, but if I’m going to discuss a book, I’d want to discuss a book. But since a vote was cast, and the yays had it, I went out and bought Watchmen.
What a waste of $20.
Watchmen is well written, for sure. And the art I can dig. Even the story is more than doable as it follows around a superhero outcast, Rorschach, as he tries to make sense of the brutal murder of The Comedian, another superhero killed in the first pages of the novel.
For all intents and purposes, Watchmen is a graphic novel I should like. With the exception of one character (Dr. Manhattan), none of the heroes in the book have superpowers. They are just strong, or athletic or whatever. Like Batman (hands down, my favorite hero) or The Punisher, they are just normal everyday folk — unlike that clown Superman, who is just lame. For the most part, any superhero with superpowers is lame, except those in Supreme Power.
In addition to the characters, the story is enough to interest me. It’s a mystery, plain and simple. I should be all over that.
But where it fails, and fails miserably, is the action — or lack of. Nothing ever happens! Okay, so that’s a mild exageration, but let’s face it; comics are a visual medium. No matter what spin is ever placed on it, at the end of the day a comic is visual.
Sure, there is a lot of subtext in Watchmen — the pirate story was pretty well done — and Rorschach is pretty bad ass (even with his annoying Hulk-like speech pattern), but the story really needs to be more interesting than it is in order to justify all the accolades the comic gets. Hell, The Walking Dead doesn’t have action every page, but it has one hell of a compelling story (although I will admit being biased, as I dig zombies more than tight wearing vigilantes).
Regardless of it all, I’ll still see the movie. I won’t rush out to the theaters, as I’m perfectly content on waiting for the DVD. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the movie, most importantly that the movie is more violent than the comic. That’s good for me. Also, I’m curious to see Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach. He’s done a lot of movies since I first saw him, but he’ll always be Kelly Leak from The Bad News Bears.