The much anticipated Watchmen film doesn’t open ‘round these parts until next Friday, but audiences in London have seen it already, and a few sneak-preview reviews have made it onto Rotten Tomatoes. With 17 reviews up so far, the tally is 13 fresh to 4 rotten, giving it an early rating of 76%, which I’d expect to see either shoot way up or drop like a rock when the movie opens wide in the U.S. This is either going to be a great film or a hitherto unimaginable turkey — don’t look for many middling reviews.
A few highlights from the reviews listed at Rotten Tomatoes:
Orlando Parfitt of IGN U.K. writes,
Maybe it’s unfair to compare the film to The Dark Knight, but Watchmen could certainly have done with Christopher and Jonah Nolan’s ultra-serious approach to the source material. In a film that includes blue naked men meditating on Mars, a character who has a moving Rorschach test for a face and a villain who has a horned pet tiger, it takes considerable skill to make such events feel serious. And while this is never in question in the graphic novel it’s certainly an issue in the film, with Snyder’s pumped-up, brash technique making much of the film feel somewhat ridiculous.
Parfitt wasn’t the only one to comment on the apparently mesmerizing sight of Dr. Manhattan’s omnipotent blue penis; Robbie Collin wrote in his review at News of the World (which has since been taken down and replaced by a note informing anyone wanting to read the review to buy Sunday’s print edition — yeah, I’ll get right on that) that seeing the little Doc on the big screen got to be pretty distracting. Just look at his face, dude.
Ah, but all hope is not lost. There are mostly very positive reviews. And even, despite my earlier prediction (made with full knowledge of the piece I’m about to quote, which tells you how smart I am), a middling one — namely from Emmanuel Levy, who gives Watchmen a B+:
Watchmen is nothing if not ambitious, fresh, and challenging work, commanding our attention by delivering various pleasures, from the most visceral to the most cerebral. Here is an ensemble-driven picture that contains so many stories and stories within stories that it may be hard to follow for viewers accustomed for more conventional and linear mainstream entertainment.
Sounds reasonably positive. Of course, B+ appears to be Levy’s cursed rating, which he also awarded to the laughably awful Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the still grossly overrated Batman Begins. I don’t think I trust this guy.
Maybe the most encouraging blurb comes from Total Film’s Jonathan Crocker, who calls Watchmen “Uncompromising, uncommercial, and unique.” If that’s true, bring it on.