The Dark Knight Rises

So yes, a review of the film everyone is talking about (partially for unbelievably tragic reasons.) I can’t think of much else to say. It’s the motherflippin’ Dark Knight Rises. You know the score.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

It’s pretty safe to say that The Dark Knight Rises has been 2012’s most anticipated film. Geeks and non-geeks alike have been waiting with bated breath for the final installment of the Dark Knight trilogy, a film that not only marks the end of Christopher Nolan’s stint behind the camera, but also Christian Bale’s time in the batsuit. It’s been a fantastic ride, but even the best rollercoasters have to come to a stop.

Don’t worry, Master Wayne. It takes a little time to get back into the swing of things.”

After the events of The Dark Knight, Batman has been gone for 8 years. An older, more physically enfeebled Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a Howard Hughes-type recluse, barely leaving his bedroom and tended to, as always, by his faithful butler Alfred (Michael Caine). However, it seems he’s not needed as thanks to the Dent Act, the streets are clean and safe- leaving Comissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) with a massive moral quandry on his hands.Wayne is forced to become the Bat once more when a hulking great mercenary by the name of Bane (Tom Hardy) who aims to send Gotham into turmoil, aided by his army of incredibly loyal followers. Also cat-burglar and seeming moral vacuum Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and rookie hot-headed cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are in it but it’s annoying me I’m still typing a fucking plot summary rather than reviewing the film. The plot is solid and probably the least convoluted of the trilogy. Without spoiling too much, although it has elements of The Dark Knight, it has more in common with Batman Begins. The returning cast are the best they’ve been, with Michael Caine making me tear up a few times.

The newcomers also bring their A-game. Anne Hathaway is awesome as Selina Kyle (she’s never referred to as “Catwoman” in the script), giving the film a sorely needed fun injection every now and again with all the unremitting bleakness, misery and bum-gazing going on. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a lot with what initially seems like a largely pointless and uninteresting role as John Blake, a young, intuitive policeman. He brings real depth to what could have been a thankless part. Marion Cotilliard is predictably great as the mysterious billionaire investor Marion Tate, who for the first time since the late Rachel Dawes believes in Bruce Wayne, rather than just his nocturnal alter-ego. As is the case with everything Batman, the villains are the real talking point and Bane is no exception. He is one scary motherfucker. Hardy does a great job giving Bane some personality considering 80% of his face is covered by a speech-garbling mask. Certainly this is the first time we feel that Batman is out of his depth physically, which gives us some fantastic showdowns between the two. He’s just not as interesting as The Joker or even Scarecrow. He’s a bulked up Ra’s al Ghul, filled with the same “Gotham must burn” League of Shadows philosophy we’ve seen before. It doesn’t help that Batman is absent from most of the film, leaving the film to uncomfortably rest on Bane’s considerable shoulders.

Time to lay the cards on the table. I think …Rises is the weakest of the trilogy. That’s not to say it’s bad, because it isn’t at all. It just doesn’t quite stack up to the the previous installments. Considering I love the first two films so much I consider them family members, this is still a huge, although admittedly backhanded, compliment. For the first time in a Nolanverse film, I was getting a bit bored, especially in the middle where the film is desperately struggling to keep up with its own plot. As I said earlier, the plot isn’t as complicated as previous films, but still has a lot of threads to keep track of, some of which aren’t kept as taut as others. …Rises is a smart film, but its misplaced some of its I.Q. points since 2008. Unlike previous entries, the social relevance aspect (The Dark Knight being a huge allegory for the War on Terror and the “any means necessary” approach) seems forced. There are distinct parallels drawn between the #Occupy movement, raging against the 1% and the global recession but it’s handled with such inelegance that I didn’t care. All those political undercurrents were woven in to The Dark Knight so carefully you could easily miss them. …Rises’ social commentary just sits on top of the plot, like oil on water. I know what you’re probably thinking: “Big fuckin’ deal, it’s Batman, dickhead- not Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”* and that’s true, I wasn’t rubbing my hands with glee in the queue because I was looking forward to some searing satire, I was looking forward to Bats kicking arse. It just stood out to me is all. Now get the fuck off my case, imaginary douche. What I’m saying is that it just doesn’t feel as clever as the other films. This is also present in the dialogue, which is nowhere near as memorable or as quotable as it has been, with a fair few clumsy lines littered here and there.The pacing was also a slight problem. The film felt like one of those extended/director’s cuts you get. There are a lot of scenes that add nice little character moments, but sacrifice pacing for them. I wouldn’t go as far to call it overindulgent, but it is a little bloated.

Despite spending that paragraph above slagging the film off, consider me a critic by exception. Everything else is awesome. The scale of this film is off the fuckin’ chain. There are scenes with hundreds of extras that justify the price of IMAX alone. If you can see it in IMAX, do. Nolan loves the format and filmed half of the film in super-resolution IMAX-o-vision and it adds a real sense of scope to everything. There are so many things that worked too. I loved the huge set-pieces, including Bane’s seige on Wall Street, leading to a fantastic exchange between him and a sharp-suited prick banker, who explains that the money isn’t real so it can’t be stolen, to which Bane replies “Then why are you people here?”. Genius. The opening plane scene is also jaw-droppingly good and really feels like an old-school James Bond setpiece. Somebody give Nolan a shot at directing the CraigHulk as Bond. They’ll make magic together, trust me. Also the scene that nerdy people like me have been expecting ever since we heard Bane was in it was worth the wait. It’s just as brutal and bad-ass as I wished it would be. In terms of the quieter moments, every scene Alfred has with Bruce is superbly written and incredibly touching. Hats off to both Bale and Caine. There are also some neat little references to both the previous films and the comic book lore dotted around that made me squeal like a Japanese anime schoolgirl.

“I won’t bury you. I buried enough members of the Wayne family.”

The Dark Knight Rises is damn good. It’s just not as good as we’ve (possibly unfairly) come to expect from Nolan. The watermark set by The Dark Knight is ridiculously high and it’s a tough act to follow. The thing that really tickles my pleasure lobe is that even at its worst, …Rises kicks the shit out of 90% of the current mainstream, multi-million dollar offerings. The film series has never pandered or patronised and I’m so pleased that people are responding en masse to this kind of filmmaking. The Dark Knight trilogy is now one of the best trilogies around- up there with Toy Story and Lord of the Rings. Whilst sceptical about the already announced Batman reboot, the film does hint at the direction they with, which I definitely approve of. …Rises is one of those films I think will improve on multiple viewings. There’s a lot packed into the 164 minute runtime, it’s just spread unevenly. You’ll laugh, you’ll definitely cry, but mostly you’ll walk out of the screening thanking whatever deity you pray to that another franchise wasn’t sullied forever. Highly recommended.

*I just noticed in my original draft this read  “Tinker Sailor Soldier Spy” which is a very different kind of film that I’m surprised they haven’t made yet.

The Dark Knight (Redux)

“Interesting” sidenote on this one. The Dark Knight was the first film I attempted to review. I emerged from the cinema completely shellshocked and felt compelled to write about what I’d just witnessed.  So I did. On MySpace. Took me a while to realise this was akin to yelling “Fire!” as the Titanic went down, but I realised I liked writing about stuff I loved ( a revelation to me, a no-brainer for everyone else) so here we are, in this grotty little corner. All because of Batman.

The Dark Knight (2008) (Redux)

How does one say anything about The Dark Knight without their voice immediately becoming lost amongst the hyperbolic masses? It’s a tough thing to do. If you’re anything like me (and I hope for your sake you’re not) the more something is trumpeted about, the less likely you are to bother with it. That’s largely irrelevant here however, as statistically, you’ve seen the film multiple times, own it on a shiny disc and have been working on your terrible Batman/Joker impressions ever since 2008. To the five people who haven’t been living in a Batcave these past four years, let me try and explain what makes The Dark Knight so extraordinary.

“Do you wanna know how I got these scars?”

The thing to understand is that The Dark Knight was always going to be big, but just how big it turned out to be surprised everyone. Elements started coming together before release (thanks in part to a revolutionary viral marketing campaign), before things started snowballing right up until release date. For starters, Batman Begins had introduced and won a lot of people over to the Nolanverse and its new, gritty take on The Caped Crusader, so naturally these people wanted more. Secondly, instead of facing secondary, lower-level villains like Ra’s al Ghul and Scarecrow, ol’ Bats would be squaring off against his most famous adversary, The Joker. Thirdly came an element that nobody could have foreseen- the tragic death of Heath Ledger mere months before the film was due to come out. This undeniably pushed knowledge of the film beyond the reach of even the most ambitious marketing drive. Amongst the grief and sad head-shakings about a life cut short, a morbid curiosity about Ledger’s last completed role started to rise- a phenomenon that also helped Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. People were champing at the bit to see this film and luckily, it turned out to be an astounding piece of work. If Batman Begins was all about laying solid foundations, The Dark Knight was about escalation, or, as The Joker himself so aptly puts it: “aggressive expansion”.

With the criminal stranglehold on Gotham City loosened by the tireless work of Batman (Christian Bale) and Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), regular street thugs are running scared from the Batsignal. However, when an unpredictable goon in clown make-up shows up calling himself “The Joker” (Heath Ledger), the gangs turn to him to get rid of their bat problem. Meanwhile, a new hope for Gotham emerges in the shape of the new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who Bruce Wayne hopes will turn into the reason to hang up the cape and cowl. Things are slightly more complicated as Dent is dating Wayne’s old flame Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, replacing Katie Holmes). This is about as good as it gets for not only comic book adaptations, but films in general. The plot is slick, tight, compelling and immersive, treating the audience like they’ve got a brain in their head (still a rarity in blockbuster filmmaking). Take away the costumed sillies and you’ve got yourself a damn fine thriller in its own right. The cast, once again, are fantastic, with the possible exception of Maggie Gyllenhaal, who seems to be holding back her acting talent seen in things like Secretary for another artsy-type film. This is pure speculation of course and she’s certainly not bad, I just can’t shake the feeling she’s not as into it as everyone else. As I said in my Batman Begins review, I would have liked Katie Holmes to have reprised her role, especially as the emotional pay-offs for the Rachel Dawes character are in this one.

The smack-in-the-face obvious stand-out is Heath Ledger’s Joker, who gives the film a manic energy and a genuine menace. For the first time on-screen, The Joker is scary. This is a far cry from Nicholson’s portrayal, who came across as a wacky uncle, rather than the demented psychopath we’re presented with here. You can never quite get a handle on Ledger’s Joker. He’s unsettling, sinister and devious but amusing and incredibly entertaining at the same time. He also gets most of the best lines, with some of my favourite moments of the film being his insane diatribes, such as his conflicting stories about how he got his trademark scars to goading a policeman about how many of his friends he’s killed. Ledger deservedly won the Oscar for this portrayal. Oh- and to all the people who said he won it “just because he died”, fuck you- it’s all there on screen. It’s truly a powerhouse performance and one I never get sick of seeing.

As for the rest of the film, it’s astounding. The writing is great and the score is especially awesome (with the usually happy-to-rest-on-his-laurels Hans Zimmer re-teaming with James Newton Howard to build on the amazing work they did on the Batman Begins soundtrack.) With such an emphasis on story and dialogue, you’d think the ball would be dropped by adding in some generic action beats. However, the action manages to be jaw-dropping whilst keeping it realistic. There’s the famous chase through the streets of Gotham which introduces the cool-as-hell Batpod and culminates in a huge 18-wheeler being flipped. You will believe a truck can fly. The opening bank heist is incredibly well done too. It sets up the film beautifully.

My favourite scene that doesn’t feature gravity-defying vehicles is the interrogation scene where Batman and The Joker have a nice little sit-down before it all goes to hell. To me, this defines The Dark Knight as a whole. In the wrong hands, this scene could have been infamous, up there with the “nuking the fridge” bit in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as it’s basically a man in unconvincing clown make-up taunting a gravelly-voiced knob in fetish gear armour with silly little bat ears. However, in practice it’s an uneasy, shocking scene that reminds me of a similar bit in L.A. Confidential where Russell Crowe’s Bud White loses his rag with a detainee. The scene is so good, I’m trying my utmost to not quit this review, jam the Blu-ray in the player and lose myself in it all over again. It honestly gets better every time I see it.

I was trying to think about any problems I had with the film and the only one I have is the dialogue given to the cop driving the armoured truck. He seems to think he’s in a standard jokey action adventure, rather than one of the bleakest populist films in recent memory. Lines like “I didn’t sign up for this!” seem really out of place. This reaches a nadir when the Joker orders his men to “rack ’em up”- shoot metal cables into the path of a police helicopter to take it down. The cables do the job and we cut back to out piggly friend who says “That’s not good!”, followed by more heli-destruction and another cut back to Sgt. Snout: “OK, that is not good!”. I can’t help thinking: “Your colleagues/friends are almost certainly dead, or at the very least seriously injured AND you’ve lost your air support in one fell swoop. You’re being hounded by a psychopath and his cronies with shitloads of weaponry and all you can do is spout shit action phrases?!”. It’s a nitpick, sure, but it really does bug me and it’s especially noticeable when surrounded by so much awesome.

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

In my not-at-all humble opinion, The Dark Knight is not only the best comic book adaptation but one of the best films in the last ten years. It’s one of those films that will be an eternal favourite, something I pop on when I want to be reminded of how good films can be. It’s not just the film you deserve, it’s the film you need.

Batman Begins (Redux)

When looking at the daily stats on this blog, I’m always fascinated by the old reviews of mine that pop up. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor always manages a few hits, for instance. Thing is, I went back and re-read some of my earlier reviews and was shocked at how short and poorly written they were. They were superficial and made no attempt at getting down to the filmic nitty-gritty. So, I decided to do a redux review of some of them, so I can have a better representation of my current thoughts available. Plus, it’s an opportunity to revisit some great films. Rather than do a George Lucas i.e. replacing the original and burning the negatives, I thought I’d do a separate one. Also, I originally did this for The People’s Movies, where the archive of my stuff can be found here.

Batman Begins (2005) (Redux)


As great as the genre-defining hallmark The Dark Knight is, I think it’s fair to say that it wouldn’t have been half as good without having the solid foundation of Batman Begins to build on. Until 2005, the (live-action) Batman adaptations were some of the best examples of wasted potential. Previous directors never really “got” Batman. He wasn’t a Gothic, limsy-wristed tragic poem of a man, stalking an Art Deco hellhole, nor was he a family-friendly, camp, action figure peddler who inhabited a headache-inducing neon nightmare. Christopher Nolan had a healthy respect for what made the comics great and, more importantly, knew that the most interesting way to get the audience to connect with the character was to get under the cowl and into the mind of the Bat.

“You must become more than just a man in the mind of your opponent.”

In case 1) you haven’t seen it or 2) can’t decipher that cryptic-as-fuck title, Batman Begins is, unsurprisingly, about Batman beginning, exploring the origins of the Dark Knight and giving the series the reboot it so sorely needed. After his rich and powerful parents are shot and killed by a opportunistic mugger, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is recruited to the League of Shadows by the mysterious Ducard (Liam Neeson), a group of ninja assassins who believe it is their duty to purge the decadent and corrupt elements of society. Rejecting their judge, jury and executioner mentality, Wayne returns to Gotham City and uses his company’s money and technology to dole out vigilante justice as Batman. Gotham is a shadow of its former self with widespread corruption, mostly leading back to powerful mob boss Falcone (Tom Wilkinson). There’s also a new threat in the form of Dr. Crane (Cillian Murphy) a creepy psychopharmacologist (that’s a real thing, I didn’t just lean on the keyboard) who experiments on his patients and has shady dealings with Falcone. Batman vows to end the Gotham’s decay with the help of rare good cop Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), tech genius Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), tenacious assistant D.A. and childhood friend Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) and loyal butler Alfred (Michael Caine).

Batman Begins is a refreshingly realistic and smart take on the Batman mythos. It chops and changes some of the most memorable comic stories like The Man Who Falls and The Long Halloween and manages to bring these various elements together into a solid, cohesive narrative. Yes, it is kind of silly to have a real, psychological take on what basically boils down to a nutter in a rubber bat costume, but you won’t question it for a second when you watch it. The cast are uniformly great. I feel Katie Holmes has been unfairly maligned as Rachel Dawes and it’s a shame she didn’t get to reprise the role in The Dark Knight as I think she would have silenced her critics. Stand-out of the film for me is Cillian Murphy who gives an unsettling, uncanny performance as Dr. Crane/Scarecrow, a man who possesses a stare that could melt Kevlar. Dude’s scary before he pulls the burlap hood over his head.

I’m hugely thankful for Nolan and David S. Goyer not messing up the Wayne’s deaths. In Burton’s Batman, they were shot by the man who would later turn into the Joker, a lazy attempt to add a personal stake in defeating the villain (see also: Spider-Man 3). What Burton (and Raimi) failed to realise is by doing that, you completely invalidate the reason why these heroes continue doing what they do. Once Keaton’s Batman defeated the Joker, why did he continue fighting crime? To have the culprit be just a random mugger means that Batman isn’t just seeking vengeance. He’s fighting something a lot more conceptual than that. Nolan understood this and to implicate that it may have even partly been Bruce’s father’s fault for not acting is a masterstroke. Batman is all about the guilt.

There’s something very scientific and methodical in Nolan’s approach. Everything that is iconic to Batman is explained in a satisfactory and believable way. For example, Batman’s gadgets are Waynetech’s abandoned military contracts, deemed too expensive for use. The new Batmobile, the Tumbler, exemplifies the new Nolanverse. It’s functional, realistic, anti-camp (unlike previous flimsier models) and undeniably kick-ass. My only real problem is with the origin of the Bat signal, where Batman leaves the unconscious Falcone lashed to a huge spotlight, creating a rudimentary bat shadow in the sky. I just can’t stop thinking about the heat those things pump out and the fact that Falcone would be sizzling like a cheap steak by the time the police cut him down.

“Bats frighten me. It’s time my enemies shared my dread.”

Until rewatching it for this review, my opinion had always been that Batman Begins was very good, but The Dark Knight was the one that knocked it out of the park. Whilst I still believe that The Dark Knight is the superior film, it’s by a lot smaller margin than I originally thought. Batman Begins is a truly fantastic film. It’s the New Hope to TDK’s Empire Strikes Back and I don’t say that lightly.

Green Lantern

Yup, back in familiar territory now with an unfamiliar superhero. Can’t think of anything else to write here. Do me a favour and skip your eyes below to the large film title, would you? Lovely.

Green Lantern (2011)

I knew it. I fucking knew this would happen. Green Lantern gets universally panned by the World, his wife, their dog and its fleas and I actually end up enjoying it. So now I look like either a) a person who wouldn’t know a good film if it kneed them in the throat or b) a mental case who might as well be screaming about how all Post Office employees are actually sinister half dragon/half cyborg amalgamations* for all the respect and attention I’m going to get for not tearing Green Lantern a new one. Still, I’m not afraid of my own opinion, so here we go.

“The ring turns thought into reality. The only limits are what you can imagine.”

Cocky test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is given a power ring by a dying alien who crash-lands on Earth. The ring grants Jordan superpowers and he is recruited into the Green Lantern Corps, a group of intergalactic peacekeepers who fight evil wherever it rears its ugly head. When a threat known as Parallax threatens Earth and Oa, the Lantern homeworld, Jordan must come to terms with his new responsibilities and save the day. Also Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong and Blake “I’m naked on the Internet” Lively are in it. The plot is pretty hackneyed, although I believe calling Green Lantern a “superhero film” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more of hokey space-opera than anything else. Ryan Reynolds has been attracting a lot of negative attention for his Hal Jordan portrayal, but I think that’s more down to the writing than anything else. Reynolds has proven himself a decent actor in films like Buried and as such I can only blame the shallow-as-fuck characterisation for all the hate. Peter Sarsgaard is actually decent as Hector Hammond and is a credible villain, despite looking like the Elephant Man. Mark Strong is Mark Strong with a funny head (and that is a good thing, although he only seems to exist to give speeches) and Blake Lively your standard female love interest. Nothing new here, move along.

It’s a shame that in this cynical age comic book adaptations feel the need to be dark and gritty in order to be taken seriously. Not every superhero film has to appeal to adults or the ludicrous late teen market and this film doesn’t try to. Green Lantern is at best, ridiculous. The very notion that a ring bestows the power to create anything out of green energy it will have disillusioned teens snarking all the way home to update their Facebook statuses, decrying the film for being too childish and not having a scene where a big-titted assassin casually rips out a man’s spinal column, her already skimpy outfit made see-through by the ensuing torrent of blood.* I would have fucking loved Green Lantern as a kid. Plus, I think the fact that the powers are based on will and imagination are a better lesson to teach the young’uns than “get bitten by a radioactive spider” or “expose yourself to space-radiation” or even “get massively rich and then take it upon yourself to stop crime”.

One of the big problems is that the film can’t decide on a tone. At times is appears straight-faced and others self-deprecating and vaguely parodic. A good example of this weird mix is a helicopter crash sequence. In it, Jordan saves the day and the girl by constructing a Hot Wheels type racetrack to bring the ‘copter to a safe stop. After a bit of nerdy friend interaction, he flies to said girl’s balcony to check that she’s okay and try out the whole superhero persona. She recognises Hal almost immediately, saying that she’s seen him naked: did he really think a mask covering his cheekbones would disguise him? It’s a nice moment, but pretty out of place with the rest of the film.

“I pledge allegiance to a lantern, given to me by a dying purple alien.”

Despite all these glaring flaws, I enjoyed Green Lantern. I thought some of the effects were genuinely impressive, some of the constructs clever and the found the suit to be pretty badass. I think audiences are suffering from superhero fatigue and Green Lantern doesn’t do itself any favours by being completely unremarkable. The concept was always going to be a tough sell, hence why this film feels especially committee shaped and why they cast wisecrackin’ Ryan Reynolds. It’s really not as bad as the critics and fanboys have been saying. It’s below average, but fun enough for what it is. I’ve not read the comics, but I’m sure there are much better stories to tell and now we’ve got the origin story out of the way maybe the Green Lantern universe can be opened up and explored in more depth. The film is an enjoyable mess and I’m hoping for a sequel to capitalise on some of the unique ideas on display here. There are some damn fine superhero sequels out there, let’s hope Green Lantern gets one.

* I am currently looking for funding for both of these film ideas. If interested, contact me via the comments box.


All the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Review Watchmen!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No.”

Oh, alright then.

Watchmen (2009)

You’ve got to hand it to director Zack Snyder. Dude got some balls. Both in a testicular sense and the fact that he decided to take on a supposedly “unfilmable” comic held in ridiculously high regard and make a big Hollywood production out of it. Whether this was a good idea or not is up for debate.

“Rorschach’s Journal: October 12th 1985. Tonight, a comedian died in New York.”

Set in an alternate 1985, a retired superhero called The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is thrown out of a high-rise apartment window to his death. Fearing some kind of secret plot to bump off other costumed heroes, a vigilante known as Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) starts to investigate. Okay, the plot summary sounds about as hackneyed as you can get, but that’s my fault rather than the film’s. The plot is multi-threaded and dense, just like the comic. Honestly, the plot is amazing. I liked the casting choices too, so no disappointments on that front.

The film sticks amazingly close to the comic. Nearly every single panel is recreated and every line of dialogue is present here. It’s very clear that Snyder loves the source material, which is admirable. However, I think he gets a little too overexcited at prospect of directing something which means so much to him. “Watchmen” has always been a reflection of popular culture and the film is no different. However, where the comic was subtle, the film is smack-in-the-face obvious- which is a shame. Snyder’s use of music too, irked me a little. Most of the songs seem very out of place due to the fact that they’re so recognisable. I understand that Snyder wants to give us an aural sense of popular culture too, but he could have been less heavy-handed with the whole thing, without seemingly crowbarring them into the start of nearly every scene.

The slow-motion thing annoyed me too. It is a stylish tool when used sparingly, but Snyder uses it all the damn time. It like when you’re playing “Mortal Kombat”,”Street Fighter” and the like with your mate and he keeps using the same fucking move that wipes you out over and over again. At first, you’re slightly taken aback and almost congratulatory, but by the fifth time you want to reach across and punch him in his stupid face. Whilst I’m not threatening physical violence against Mr. Snyder, I do wish that he could have kept his finger off the slo-mo button for a least a while. In terms of specifics, the Rorschach apartment scene was odd. Mainly because it’s pretty much a carbon copy of Marv’s apartment escape scene in “Sin City”. Fan favourite character gets framed for murder, keeps cops at bay with bad-assery and eventually jumps out of a window. I swear even some of the shots are the same. I’m not sure whether “Sin City” was referencing the “Watchmen” graphic novel with Marv’s scene or what, but the similarities are pretty clear.

However, all the above are minor niggles when compared to the following point. I don’t think “Watchmen” works as a film. As a comic book, it acts as part parody, part political story filled with layers upon layers of meaning and satire. However, as a film, the very act of not reading it takes you away from the way it’s meant to be experienced. It’s like if a parody film like “Airplane!” or “The Naked Gun” were faithfully turned into graphic novels with every frame and every line of dialogue present. They’d still be funny, but you’re missing an important part of the parody itself. In simple terms, for a parody comic to fully work as a parody, you need to be able to turn the pages and read it as one. When translated to film, this is obviously lost.

“You people don’t understand. I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with ME!”

I’ve been really indecisive over what to give “Watchmen”. I enjoyed it but I get the feeling I would have been lost if I hadn’t read the comic first. My advice is to read the brilliant source material before going to see the film. At least that way the film acts as a companion piece to the comic, rather than the other way round. I’m going to give it four stars, but definitely knock off a star or two if you haven’t read the comic.