Saturday, June 27, 2009


Finally, the adaptation of the highly acclaimed comic book series that had been in production hell for the longest of times. Of course the film would never achieve the magic that could be found in the graphic novel (the story is one that was very much suited for its medium). Snyder's attempt gets a few things right but ultimately, it falls short. The movie does at least present every thematic element of the graphic novel. The characters and their backstories are all elaborated on and yet in the comic it felt natural to go into a flashback while here it is time consuming and forced. The superhero noir-inspired mystery is still just as complex and interesting as it was in the comic which frankly surprised me as I thought Snyder would downplay that in favor of some good ol' fashioned superhero on superhero action. The credits sequence is also one of the most ambitious things I've seen in a long time. The whole thing is set to The Times They Are A Changin' by Bob Dylan and every moment is placed rhythmically alongside the catchy and meaningful tune.

Now enough of the pros, lets get to the cons. Despite the strength of the faithful plot, the pacing, caused by frantic camera movement, is all over the place. The whole feel of the movie is MTV-itized with moments feeling like they came out of a music video. There is also an abundance of moments in slow motion that make this feel like one step away from a Michael Bay film. As opposed to the graphic novel where stuff was crammed into panels for a reason, little homages to the story are also present in every scene (like the trash lying around the Comedian's apartment) but in the comic book medium there was a reason for all of that- it provided substance. Here it just feels like filler material that is part of the set. The story demands that we can stop and admire things but instead the camera rushes by it all and the only time we can admire something is when a bullet or a punch goes flying. The comic also allowed equal room to appreciate the characters while the film places a few of the heroes above the rest. It gets the point where the rest of the cast pales in comparison to Jackie Earle Haley (who was excellent in Little Children) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as their characters prove to be the most complex and interesting. The comic was a product of the eighties and this film just doesn't hold up with the same allegory that one might hope it would.

It leaves you feeling emotionally distant thanks to the pointless and emotionless substance that is more prevalent then anything thought provoking or intellectual as the film might've been under Darren Aronofsky, Paul Greengrass, or Terry Gilliam. Perhaps this movie just wasn't meant to be filmed. I mean it can be, but you just won't walk away with the same feeling as you would when you read the source material.

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