I went to see Watchmen last night.
As a somewhat obsessive fan of the original comic book (alright then, graphic novel), I expected this to be something of a Manichean moviegoing experience. I’d leave the theatre either loving or hating the film, hailing Zack Snyder as a cinematic genius or denouncing him as the New Schumacher. Like the moral standpoint of Rorschach, one of the anti-heroes from the film (alright then, motion picture), there would be no middle ground, no compromise.
That was yesterday. Now, I’m not too sure.
My good friend Phil likened the film to the Ludovico technique, that fictitious aversion therapy from Clockwork Orange in which Malcolm McDowell’s Alex was forced to watch a barrage of lurid, violent images with his eyes prised open. Watchmen was two hours and forty minutes of relentless sensory overload which made me feel happy, annoyed, ecstatic, angry, gleeful and perplexed and often all at the same time. It’s also left me feeling a bit like Malcolm McDowell.
I’m still trying to process it now. Like Schrödinger’s Cat – which is both alive and dead at the same time – I find myself simultaneously loving and hating Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. I’ll try to write something more coherent once my neurology settles down.
Or I might just go to see it again.