Before his DCEU days, Warner Bros. brought in director Zack Snyder to helm a film adaptation of the Watchmen comic book series, written and drawn by the acclaimed Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. At the time of its release, Watchmen was perhaps the most grown up superhero story to have been told, really because it wasn’t about people with superpowers (with the exception of Dr. Manhattan), rather it actually made a mockery of traditional superhero archetypes by placing them in a real world setting in which they became very tragic characters. Snyder’s big screen version of the story, which hit cinemas in 2009, sought to bring the story to life on film, though adapting Watchmen in full with all its complexities and deeper meanings was always considered an impossible task.
While Watchmen was met with mixed reception upon its theatrical release, the movie has arguably been able to have somewhat of an afterlife since its move to home video and streaming services, thanks mainly to positive word of mouth. Being a Zack Snyder film, Watchmen received a 3-hour Ultimate Cut upon its DVD release (no doubt the original cut that was edited down for cinemas) which served the movie well in rounding out certain subplots and supporting characters that were not as clear to understand in the theatrical cut.
Doctor Strange filmmaker Scott Derrickson recently took to his Twitter to say that the Ultimate Cut of Snyder’s Watchmen is his favourite comic book movie ever made, citing it at as “The BLADE RUNNER of superhero cinema”:
Derrickson has already praised Watchmen‘s Ultimate Cut before now; last year the 41-year-old filmmaker commented that the Snyder superhero film as a “masterwork”. It seems that even after all the acclaimed recent comic book movies that Derrickson still holds Watchmen up above the rest.
Snyder’s love of the source material and eye for detail, paired with some stunning visuals and well choreographed action scenes, made for a truly unique kind of superhero film which, for the most part, stays pretty true to the original comic. While Snyder’s detractors cite that convoluted his story telling and style over substance approach let the movie down a little, they, for the most part, concede that Watchmen is one of the director’s better titles that highlights the best of his abilities behind the camera.
Coincidentally, Derrickson’s Tweet arrives just as HBO gears up for its own Watchmen episodic series, which no doubt benefited from the popularity of the 2009 film. Although little is currently known about the project, it sounds as though HBO’s show will be adapting the source material more loosely than the way that Snyder chose to handle it. In all, it seems Watchmen will remain perhaps one of the most faithful comic book to film adaptations and for many ranks among the upper echelon of superhero movies.
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