I love Watchmen. I’m making no bones about this: I am heads over heels for this brilliant, flawed, fascinating, strange, uncommercial and breathtaking motion picture. But what I may love even more than Watchmen the movie is Watchmen the phenomenon: finally we have a big budget blockbuster worth arguing about. Whether you like the movie or not – and I get how people can honestly not like this movie – you must admit that this is a film worth discussing, an honest to god attempt at making a work of art in a populist idiom. Maybe that attempt fails for you, but as long as you have a rational way to explain and back up that position, I’m excited to hear it. Too often the back and forth on movies like this fall into squabbles:
‘You don’t know how to have fun!’
‘You don’t know how to think!’
‘You must hate rollercoasters!’
and while that can be fun for the flame warriors (guiltily looks off to the side), it’s not productive.
It’s been fun to read the differing opinions on the film (although some of them read like they were written long before the reviewer saw a frame of the film, or are too preoccupied with the source material or the fans to have any real insight), but the real smackdown is going to happen on Monday on G4’s Attack of the Show. They’re going to have Drew McWeeny, currently of HitFix and previously of Aint It Cool, debating the film with David Poland, currently of Movie City News.
Drew’s review is a gushing bit of praise. David’s is mixed. I do feel like this is an unfair match up – I don’t think Poland quite ‘got’ the movie (he compares the characters in Watchmen to the mutants in X-Men, a comparison I think betrays a huge bit of point missing), and I think that his mixed opinion is a grudging one. The guy waged a war on Watchmen in the weeks leading up to release, up to and including complaining that he didn’t get invited to an early enough screening. And David’s going to be arguing a point of view that will be essentially unpopular with the Attack of the Show audience, so he’s at a disadvantage on that level as well.
And for those of you who are interested in inside baseball: there’s some history between these two. Poland has had lots to say about Drew and about Aint It Cool over the years, and I think that this debate may actually generate some heat. I’m excited.
Tune into to see titans tussle Monday at 7pm on Attack of the Show.