At The Movies With Peter Travers: The Awesome and Awful "Watchmen"

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This week At the Movies, Peter Travers takes on Watchmen, what many are hailing as the holy grail of comic book-turned-blockbuster movies. Travers says in his two-and-a-half star review that the film is "caught between the rock of fanboy adulation and the hard place of newbie indifference," and thus is a "cinematic pinata getting whacked from every side." It's awesome and it's awful, Travers says — and unfortunately it's not the holy grail of comic book movies. Travers praises director Zack Snyder's faithfulness to the graphic novel, but that love also hurts the flow of the film. Also earning high marks are the performances of Jackie Earle Haley as ink-blotted Rorschach and Billy Crudup as the mutant physicist Dr. Manhattan. "This isn't a super hero movie — this is a really depressing, melancholy look at how bad these super hero movies can be," Travers says, and all in all, it's worth seeing.

However, some of the Watchmen isn't worth seeing, and that's what also earns the film a spot in this week's Scum Bucket. What doesn't work? The hollow love story between Silk Spectre II played by Malin Akerman ("The poor man's Cameron Diaz") and the miscast Patrick Wilson as the Nite Owl II (Travers argues for Philip Seymour Hoffman in the role). "This is bad stuff in a movie that should have known better," Travers says. If all this superhero talk just confuses you, maybe this would be a good weekend to catch up on all those Oscar-nominated films. For more of the Travers' take on Watchmen, visit him At The Movies.