Malin Akerman and Patrick Wilson get their leather and latex fetish on
Malin Akerman and Patrick Wilson get their leather-and-latex-in-prison fetish on

Among a significant segment of the comic reading crowd, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is a little like holy scripture. From an artwork standpoint, it’s a highly cinematic piece with its colored panels unfolding in storyboard-like fashion, but it also brings to bear the power of literature with its density, its numerous thematic layers and its precise structure. The comic is truly the fusion of movie and novel, drawing strengths from both kinds of art in a nearly perfect realization of the form.

Narratively Watchmen accomplishes a kind of complexity that neither a novel nor a film can quite convey and therein lies the main problem with Zack Snyder’s faithful, well-intentioned and almost successful cinematic adaptation: a two hour and forty-five minute film can only effectively capture one aspect of the comic. In this case, though it’s a little too slick by half (the comic felt grungier somehow), Watchmen is an at times eerily accurate visual reproduction of the comic. Unfortunately however, it mostly fails to convey the original’s richness and the end result feels a little hollow and pointless.

Taking place in 1985 in an alternate real world where superheroes actually exist, Watchmen asks the question what such a world would be like. In Moore’s vision, the original superheroes are simply slightly bent citizens who dress up in costumes and fight crime for kicks. Then, in the 1960s, a physics experiment gone awry gives birth to Dr. Manhattan, a nearly omnipotent being who can shape matter itself. The first superhero with actual super powers, Dr. Manhattan wins the war in Vietnam (allowing Richard Nixon to repeal term limits and remain president) and the Soviets are kept at bay in the Cold War. However, in order to counteract the threat of Dr. Manhattan, they build up a massive stockpile of nuclear weapons. When one crime fighter is murdered and Dr. Manhattan disappears, the world is left on the brink of war and it’s up to a group of retired (and now outlawed) superheroes to find out what’s going on before it’s too late.

The good news is that Snyder appears to have approached the story with a desire to do it justice and without a trace of cynicism. It shows in the at times almost fetishistic reproductions of some of the original comic panels and the myriad tiny details that aren’t necessary for the telling of the story but should give fans a bit of a thrill. He also did a mostly remarkable job in casting. Jackie Earl Haley captures the tenor and spirit of the unhinged vigilante “Rorschach” perfectly, both in and out of costume. Patrick Wilson meanwhile nails the soft, middle-aged, impotent Dan Dreiberg who once dressed up as the Batman-like “Night Owl.” Malin Akerman is probably the weakest link as “Silk Spectre” Laurie Juspeczyk, but it’s kind of a goofy character to begin with and she doesn’t ruin the film.

A little more problematic are some shaky musical choices. Some of songs are referenced directly in the comic. Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower and Desolation Row for example are featured in the book and heard in the film, though in versions by Jimi Hendrix and My Chemical Romance respectively. Dylan’s version of The Times They Are a Changin’ on the other hand is used over an opening credit sequence that neatly lays out the Watchmen history of superheroes. It’s a nifty introduction to the film, but the song is an obvious and overdone choice. Worse still is Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries used for a sequence in Vietnam. It’s an affectionate nod to Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, but a distracting misstep that takes you out of the film.

Speaking of quotes, there are at least two shots of the president in the war room that are lifted directly from Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove – right down to the lighting and set design. It’s a fun bit of cinematic geekery, but like the Coppola nod, it’s distracting if you notice it and pointless if you don’t.

Sure to be the most controversial among the purist and fanboy set is the fact that Snyder completely reconfigured the ending of the comic. It’s understandable since the original ending requires a considerable side story – a side story that unbeknownst to Moore had already been the subject of an Outer Limits episode (and is alluded to in both the comic and the film). Though the new ending is less elegant, it’s a more economical expression of the same idea. It’s fully within the spirit of the comic, but it’s jarring if you know how it’s really supposed to play out.

Despite some of the changes, many of the individual sequences make you smile with their fidelity to the comic. The opening death of Edward Blake “The Comedian” is especially remarkable in this regard and so is his funeral. These scenes are literally the comic brought to life. Unfortunately, they’re only a simulacrum of reality and that’s ultimately the problem with the film. Though Watchmen tries its best, it ends up feeling a bit like a travelogue or greatest hits version of the comic, hitting all the most memorable notes while only skimming across the surface. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. On one hand it gets just enough right to frustrate you with the possibility of what could’ve been, but on the other hand the parts that work are still a lot of fun.

In a perfect world, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen would’ve reinvented how we tell superhero stories in movies the way Moore and Gibbons’ Watchmen did for comics. That’s a lot to ask especially when you consider that Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300 is one of the emptiest and most irritating comic adaptations to come down the pipeline. Though this film falls far short of revolution we should probably be happy that it doesn’t fall completely on its ass.

Snyder’s Watchmen isn’t quite the R-Rated, adult superhero movie I yearned for after enjoying The Dark Knight last summer, but it does nothing to mar the original source material and it gets enough right to be worth seeing. The unfortunate irony is that the film will probably make the most sense to people who’ve read the comic, but for this same audience it adds little new to the experience.

Watchmen. USA 2009. Directed by Zack Snyder. Written by David Hayter and Alex Tse based on the original comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Cinematography by Larry Fong. Edited by William Hoy. Music composed by Tyler Bates. Starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson. 2 hours 41 minutes. MPAA Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language. 3.5 stars (out of 5).

40 Responses to “Review: Watchmen (2009) *** 1/2”

  1. Dead on review, in every respect I’m afraid. Perfunctory is the best way I can describe it, although Snyder’s complete failure to competently convey drama, tension, suspense, or action might lead one to wonder if this would soared in more capable hands.

    One question: did the gore and violence seem unnecessary to you? It felt oddly gratuitous to me, especially in the Silk Spectre 1/Comedian scene. At times it felt juvenile rather than hard-boiled or adult.

  2. Another fine review Craig. The issues you, Joel, Hedwig, and others raise jive well with my own concerns based on the trailer and the director. But it’s heartening that many were able to find some measure of entertainment and artistic success in it. I’m intrigued by what people unfamiliar with the source material, like Sam and Hungry Inch, made of it. Ideally the film should be judged on its own merits. But treating the much admired graphic novel as a storyboard makes this even harder to do.

  3. joel… but i wonder if snyder gave whomever (that hired him) what they wanted ?? i read at bop that part of the reason he got this gig was because of yep… 300.

    or maybe they were just looking at that films box office ???

  4. 3-1/2 stars: looks like you had a better experience than those who called this movie a steaming turd.

    A very well-writen and balanced review. This was clearly not a perfect film but I think you did a nice job highlighting what worked and what didn’t. I never had an interest in this movie so I won’t be seeing it most likely; but I enjoyed reading your review. :)

  5. Good review, Craig. Here are a few thoughts (possible spoilers):

    The more people explain the book to me, the less successful I think Snyder was at bringing out the ideas. That’s not to say it’s a total failure, but it’s a weakness.

    A lot of people like the jail cell fight. I did too, but … while it’s eye-caatching, I thought it was the ultimate example of the film favoring style over humanity. As I said in my review, it naturally compares to Oldboy’s similar scene, and that one is so visceral while this one is pretty.

    As a point of comparison, do you know which fight/action scene I liked which certainly gets lost in the shuffle? The one with Dan and Laurie in the alley (intercut weirdly with Manhattan’s Nightline appearance). Here are these people who haven’t done the crimefighting thing in years. They must wonder if they still have it, if they are the people they once were. The moment is almost nostalgic and feeling.You sense it means something to them, and it humanized them for me.

  6. Stella’s got her groove back.

    I hadn’t realized how much I missed your reviews of late until you posted these two. This one, in particular, is classic Craig Kennedy, full of discerning insights, diplomatic admissions to both admirers and haters of the film, informed judgment and clear, engaging writing. Boy makes it look so easy.

    I still haven’t seen Watchmen to know whether the actual opinions in your review are in line with mine. Like I said elsewhere, though, I expect to fall somewhere in the middle, as you have. Maybe I’ll find Watchmen to be a visionary, unprecedented work of uncompromising genius and maybe it’ll make me vomit in the aisles in aesthetic disgust, but I’m betting a more moderate response is much more likely. I should be seeing it this week.

  7. K., that particular scene is edited and staged very close to the comic book. Ironically, it should be the turning point in the story but instead it just falls sorta flat because Snyder has missed the opportunity to drive the characters and narrative to the next level. He just isn’t up to the task of pulling it all together.

    Glimmer, I think the studio has no clue about the material and they were hoping that Snyder would 300-peat on Watchmen. He did the best he could and most fans of the comic book seem pretty happy with it, so the studio should recoup much of their investment on ticket and DVD sales.

    Watchmen is very likely unfilmable in any complete sense as a feature film. Hollywood has grappled with it for years and there’s some laughably bad prior treatments that attest to Hollywood’s complete lack of understanding of what Moore and Gibbons had accomplished. Snyder did the best he could with the material and a lot of people are happy with it, which is fine.

    Wish it were more what I wanted it to be, but I’m not surprised by the result.

  8. And I did get a special thrill out of that reference to THE OUTER LIMITS, one of my all-time favorites of television shows.

    Well, I was a non-reader of the comics, yet WATCHMEN, warts and all, worked quite nicely for me. The film was more of a visual tone poem, than it was any kind of a cohesive superhero fable. It’s thrust was in the visuals and in a provocative aural track that was operatic in sweep and suggestive in its evocative philosophical context. It’s easy to find ideas that don’t work (especially if you might be looking for them) but as a finished product it’s aesthetically beautiful and thought-provoking.

    You could hardly expect more from this genre, methinks.

    A distinguished and probing review here.

  9. awww thanks Mrs. Bee. My ego thanks you too. Reviews are always the most work and they’re never a guarantee of the most hits or comments, but I always intended them to be the backbone of LiC whether anyone reads ’em or not….and I’ve completely been slacking on them lately. It feels good to get back in the saddle.

    I continue to be fascinated how different people’s expectations are leading to different responses to the movie.

    I think I was harder on the film in my review than I really feel about it. I’m not as unreservedly satisfied with it as Sam, but I’m less disappointed by it than Joel.

    Still, I was unable to completely judge the film on its own merits. As I said in the Watercooler I think that’s partly Snyder’s fault for his visual fidelity. But in some ways I think knowledge of the comic might have made for a better movie for some of the non-readers who didn’t care for it.

    You can take Snyder’s greatest hits approach and fill in the blanks with what you know from the comic….or on the other hand you can be irritated by what was left out and glossed over.

    As Joel notes, that scene in the alley is one of the key moments in the comic. I’d add the jailbreak scene to that and both were more fully developed in the comic. One reason I think they worked as well as they did in the movie is, in addition to the emotional component KB mentions, the fact that they’re one of only a couple of times we get the visceral kind of superhero moment we’ve come to expect from the genre and it’s a reminder of why these horribly flawed characters are supposed to be so appealing.

    The sex and violence didn’t bother me too much Joel, but I see where you’re coming from. It felt harsher than it did in the comic, but I attribute that as much to the fact it’s live action instead of drawings as I do a fanboy fascination on Snyder’s part. Full disclosure: the 16 year old in me was perfectly happy to finally see Silk Spectre’s live-action boobies. There I’ve admitted it.

    One thing that I forgot to mention in my review though (I think I may have already mentioned this in the watercooler) and this is ***SPOILER*** territory. Snyder did a good job of conveying the horror and brutality in the rape scene…maybe too good of a job….but the destruction of an entire city was handled without even a second thought. The comic didn’t dwell on it, but there were a couple of pages of Laurie and Dr. Manhattan surveying the carnage in the corpse filled city. Here…not so much. It gutted the impact of the finale a bit if you ask me.

    Also. Nixon was HORRIBLE.

    Also, was no one else distracted by the visual Strangelove references? Did I just imagine them?

    Finally….I hated Snyder’s visual style in 300 with the slo-mo, fast, slo-mo business, but honestly I think I get it now. It’s a nod to the panels of a comic book and the comic’s ability to emphasize an action by freezing it in a moment in time. I think there’s more of an artistic rhyme and reason to it than simply because it looks neat. I have no intention of visiting the wretched 300 again, but at least the style doesn’t bother me like it used to.

    Sam, I aim to revisit Watchmen one of these days and I’m going to try and see it through your eyes. I really like your tone-poem approach. I’ll have to completely divorce myself from the comic to pull that off, but I think it might allow me to like it better. As I said above, I think I liked the movie overall better than the impression I give with this review. I had problems and wasn’t completely satisfied, but there was a lot to like about it.

  10. Well I see that much of the conversation at the watercooler has already happened here.

    A great review, Craig – you really do a nice job a.) being even-handed, and b.) laying out the framework of the adaptation for those of us (like me) who haven’t read the book.

  11. Yes, the slo-mo/fast-mo thing is a nod to comic book art, but sadly it doesn’t work for me well at all. It in the context of Bullet time in the Matrix movies it makes sense, but it was already getting overdone by the time Snyder started making movies.

  12. I have too much invested in the source material not to get a little uppity about all this, but I have to second Jeff’s comment that this movie isn’t worth getting very emotional over. The graphic novel isn’t going anywhere and good or bad, Snyder didn’t show a genuine lack of respect for the source material so you can’t blame him for not trying.

  13. Yeah, I’m a little surprised at the extreme arguments on both ends. The film neither cures cancer nor kills bunny rabbits.

  14. Haha…people can get a t-shirt printed up: “Zach Snyder killed my bunny.”

  15. Nixon was stone awful. And the Ken Adams nod doesn’t work when you’re just CGing a copycat war room set. There is a difference.

    But the film has stuck with me, which to my mind, gives it value.

  16. All of Snyder’s references – to Apocalypse Now, Strangelove, etc – were dumb. They were quite simply on the level of “remember this element from that classic movie? Wasn’t that great?” He’s the Chris Farley Show of filmmakers. No new twist or innovation, just repetition – like the movie as a whole, mostly.

    Nixon was pretty bad too. And I was definitely distracted by the gratuitous sex and gore

    Did anyone else notice Snyder’s reference to his own past hit in the opening scene?

  17. I must have missed that Jeff. Do tell.

    I’d agree Nixon wasn’t great, but then I wasn’t expecting much from that. But the Strangelove and Apocalypse Now references were as on-the-nose and unimaginative as the pop music selections were. Like I said before…the word that keeps coming into my head regarding most of his choices as a director on Watchmen is perfunctory. He just did what was on the page because he brought little to the process. The sum total of Zach Snyder’s contribution to the final process, beyond shepherding it all through the minefield of the studio system (no easy task at all), are the opening credits, the slo-mo/fast mo stuff, and the gratuitous gore.

    Again, it’s better than I expected and a lot less than I hoped for.

  18. The Comedian’s apartment number is 3001. When the fight starts, he tosses something (I think it was an ashtray) at his assailant, who dodges it, and it hits the door and knocks off the ‘1’.

    I think it’s funny that Snyder is being labelled a ‘visionary’ now since what he’s doing is the exact opposite – a visionary, like Kubrick or Scorsese or Malick or whoever, creates unique, original pieces of art. What Snyder is doing is taking somebody else’s ‘visionary’ art and plopping it, mostly unaltered, onto a screen. There’s a pretty big difference.

  19. “He’s the Chris Farley Show of filmmakers.”


  20. Hah, well I definitely missed that one. And I don’t care, but I appreciate you explaining it in detail.

    Yep, completely agree on the “visionary” thing. I know some people seem to think his slo-mo/fast-mo thing is visionary, but we can’t even give him that because it was around well before 300. It’s just no one ever based their entire oeuvre around it.

  21. I missed the 300 reference, but it makes a certain sense since without that movie’s success, Snyder wouldn’t have gotten this gig.

    I forgot to mention Hallelujah during the love scene which Hedwig reminded me of in her pod cast. That was the worst.

    Also, much of the dialogue that works on the page came off pretty corny on the screen.

  22. Yeah, there were a number of elements that work OK in the funny pages but are corny on the big screen. Again, Snyder just didn’t have the foresight to differentiate what needed to be there versus what needed to be changed.

    One thing that was weird to me was his fidelity to the time period, even going so far as to make Veidt’s computer replicate an old 1985-era Macintosh but then he had the SWAT team that surrounds Rorschach look like they walked off the set of 24, complete with helmets and gas masks no 1985-era municipal SWAT team would have had. It was an odd incongruity, considering how much of the rest of the film aped every pen stroke of Gibbon’s design.

  23. Yeah, I love Hallelujah, but please someone call a moratorium on using it in films and montages for about 20 years. Sometimes music should just be music.

  24. I’m responding to sartre’s comment in this thread (from the Weekend Forecast) so as not to hijack another thread with Watchmen comments.

    sartre said:
    Call me crazy but I actually am looking forward to watching the longer version of The Watchmen on blu ray in the comfort of our home theater.

    Wow, some of the negative critical reaction to this film that I’ve read has been off the chart. I can understand people being disappointed or indifferent but I’m not quite sure why it inspires such vitriol. Hollywood is a production line for such inane formulaic fare. Banality is the default. Why use a sledgehammer on a film that demands more of its audience than is typically encountered in a summer blockheader, and that undoubtedly displays high levels of craft across different departments? I really liked the film. I don’t think it’s a masterpiece but in its own way it’s quite groundbreaking.

    My question to its harshest critics – why so serious?

    Groundbreaking isn’t a word I’d use to describe it at all. What’s so groundbreaking about it, that its an R-rated comic book movie or that they remained true to the basic narrative of the source material? I’m confused. I know you saw No Country for Old Men, which accomplished both these tasks and was a great film.

    How exactly is it ground breaking?

    If Watchmen was groundbreaking, then so was 300, in my opinion. Snyder sets himself the exact same tasks with both and accomplishes the same basic outcome in each, it’s just that the source material for the former has far more depth.

  25. I was hoping someone would answer my question, Joel. But I’m happy to answer your own.

    I was thinking groundbreaking with a small “g” and in terms of risk – compared to most $150 million summer tent-pole films it had few big superhero moments (as noted by Craig), it was densely plotted and cerebral, and it at least touched on adult themes (though I personally thought it did better than that). Whether this filmed worked for one or not it seems to me a positive step towards telling more complex stories using a bigger budget canvas.

    I’m not looking to fight with anyone over this film. Just curious about the more extreme reactions to it.

    I loved the graphic novel but I have no difficulty separating the two.

  26. Methinks you’re a lover, not a fighter, sartre, and i respect that (heh heh). Me, I’m just a curmudgeon.

    I think Watchmen deserves to be taken seriously (in response to your Why So Serious dilemna with the negative response to it) and if the film can’t find a grounding in the material’s serious thematic issues, it shouldn’t have been made. Snyder tries his best to tackle those elements, but I think his efforts are superficial at best.

    He undercuts himself by going for the basest aspect of the most visceral moments in the source material (the rape of Silk Spectre, virtually every episode of violence) but undercuts the overall heft of the material by sidestepping the weightiest elements (the bloody aftermath of the carnage in New York, Rorschach’s obvious psychosis, etc). Snyder wants to have his R-rated cake and he wants to eat it too but you can’t have one without the other with Watchmen. Violence and spectacle must be married to honesty and sorrow. Either you accept that none of these characters are heroes and that the entire endeavor is built on the theory that we’re all fundamentally flawed at our core, or you parade the kids around in tights and pretend like there are really white hats and black hats to be worn.

    Moore’s world is all grays. Snyder lives in black and white.

    I think it’s fair to say Snyder gave this his all and it may in fact be the best version of Watchmen that Hollywood is ever going to be capable of offering the masses, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It didn’t grab me. I didn’t feel the wealth of emotions and catch 22’s that Moore poses in his writing nor did I sense that Snyder or Hayter actually grasped the thematic issues that resonate out from the narrative into the medium itself.

    They crafted a pretty carbon copy of the visuals and found a decent skeleton to hang the narrative of the film on, but at best this is a beautiful corpse and not the living, breathing creature that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons birthed over 20 years ago.

  27. Fair enough Joel. I can see where you’re coming from. I’m just more forgiving of the things you’re disappointed in and more appreciative of the things you recognize as having some value in the film.

    I’m glad Synder and his collaborators made the film. Even his limitations and affectations as a filmmaker didn’t get in the way of an experience I found surprisingly entertaining and engaging. And I celebrate the fact that many more people will be introduced to the novel and the broader graphic novel genre as a result. The publishers claim a million copies of The Watchmen have been sold since the early marketing of the film got going. $75,000 last week alone.

  28. Sorry that 75,000 refers to copies, not dollars.

  29. Well said, Joel, although I liked the film more than you did for the scattered sequences that worked.

    For me the best recent comparison is with Revolutionary Road, another literary work that the filmmakers simply and reverently embalmed rather than actually translated into living cinema.

  30. Ha! Revolutionary Road was my favorite film of 2008. Seems like I have a ghoulish interest in embalming :-)

  31. At least you’re consistent.

    Had you read either/both before seeing the movies?

  32. sartre, I liked Watchmen after I saw it but I didn’t really think that much of it. The ensuing discussion over it has polarized my feelings a bit more than I would have liked, which is what happened to me with Slumdog Millionaire too. Oh well, you win some and lose some.

    I think the movie does a decent job of capturing the narrative and main characters of the graphic novel and I didn’t mind most of the changes to the ending or the omissions. I think my biggest frustration was that Rorschach becomes more of a hero in Hayter’s screenplay and much less of the psycho nutjob he is in the novel, but Haley does an admirable job of staying true to Moore’s original version with the scenes he’s given.

    Its dense material that wasn’t ever intended to be filmed, so its not surprising that it has come up short in some respects.

  33. Yeah Joel, I noticed your disappointment crystalizing over comments.

    I read The Watchmen a couple of years ago – my entree into graphic novels, but haven’t yet done so with Revolutionary Road. For me it’s generally better to read a book second. I had quite a hard time dealing with some of the Coen Brothers decisions about what they left in and out of No Country. But I eventually made my peace with the fact and more fully enjoyed the film on its own terms.

    I agree with Joel about the ways in which it could have been better – truer to the novel. But I never expected to get that kind of film out of Hollywood and I was surprised by a version that was better than I hoped for. With No Country I thought there was room for the Coens to include a couple of things towards the end that I valued in the book.

  34. I feel like whichever one you expect to like more, that’s the one to view/read first. So since I’ve had pretty ambivalent feelings about the last few Sam Mendes movies, I had no problem with reading the Yates book first and provoking the inevitable ‘the movie wasn’t as good as the book’ feelings that I had.

  35. That seems like a wise approach Jeff.

    When a film adaptation works for me I get a real kick out of examining the decisions the screenwriters make about what to leave in and out, and how to re-organize content in ways necessitated by the constraints of cinema but that remain true to the original themes, beats, tone, key moments etc.

    And it’s fun seeing pulp turned into higher art by cinema – e.g. The Godfather parts I and II.

  36. I had to agree with both of you on those last points, although I rarely get to the book before the film these days, so that ends up being the one I focus on.

    I get a kick out of comparing the choices made too, Sartre. I thought most of the choices on Watchmen were alright, but I wonder if they included too much of the original? There was a ton of exposition, sometimes lifted verbatim. Seemed a bit unwieldy to me.

  37. There probably was room for less exposition but the screenwriters have my sympathy on that front. I think that retaining something of the density of the source material necessitated its liberal use. Also, Moore’s The Watchmen is so intricately constructed that moving away from its architecture and even many of the smaller moments risked an unraveling. I wonder just how original the writers could have been and still produced something recognizable as The Watchmen? I’m not saying its impossible, just noting the magnitude of the challenge.

  38. Yeah, I was typing that last comment on the mobile phone and didn’t explain that it’s an entirely hypothetical notion. I guess my point is that much of worked on the page, especially Dr Manhattan’s time-skipping origin story, didn’t translate well in a long slog of exposition for me.

    It’s the pitfall of remaining so stringently tied to the material that Hayter has to explain so much in such a compressed fashion. Of course, had he chosen to *show* much of Dr Manhatten’s origin rather than explain it, I/we/fanboys would likely be complaining that the complexity of it had been lost so I suppose it’s a lose/lose situation in a way (at least for whiny people like me).

    I keep going back to LOTR, which in many respects I think had mostly similar (and some specifically different) obstacles to overcome in its transition to the screen. Although I think their choice to have Frodo and a Ringwraith come face to face at the end of TTT was a huge mistake, otherwise I think they made a lot of wise decisions, changing and/or omitting certain elements when necessary to make the films work. Of course, they also benefited from adapting a source material that often barely detailed some of its most dramatic scenes, offering them incredible license.

    Anyway, just my thoughts.

  39. I agree that the LotR cycle was a brilliant adaptation and that Jackson is in a completely different league as a film artist than Synder. But as you note there is probably more room when adapting Tolkein’s opus for originality, particularly in the hands of a genuine visionary.

  40. Yeah, it’s not a perfect comparison by any means.

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