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Post Superheroic Cinema

image by Veronica V. Jones

Watchmen Heralds Superheroic End of Days

Jackie Earle Haley as Roarshach. Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan. Matthew Goode as Ozymandias.

Superman ushered in the modern age of movie super heroes in 1978 as a alien farmboy with a heart of gold and a clear sense of good and evil. A decade later, Batman burst on the screen with some serious issues, and a darker view of caped crimefighting. Bats became a bit more grim — and much less cheesy —  thanks to a much-needed reboot, but was still grounded by a strong sense of justice, and a belief in the sanctity of human life, no matter how corrupt. The Watchmen are set for general release tomorrow, with several costumed heroes ultimately more frightening than any villain.

No superhero will never be as dark or unforgiving as Rorschach, as omnipotent or emotionally detached as Dr. Manhattan. Still other characters fight for their goals at nearly any cost. The viewer may find themselves challenged to redefine their concept “hero” several times throughout the film.

While there have been a few changes to critical plot points, the general consensus is that Zach Snyder’s Watchmen may very well be the most faithful translation of a comic book to the screen. The core questions of the corrupting influence of power on governments and the human soul remain, and with its unflinching gaze into the abyss, Watchmen could conceivably mark the beginning of a post-super era for a generation of moviegoers.

Written by in March of 2009. Last edited March 2019.

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