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What ‘The Avengers’ Learned From the Mistakes of ‘Watchmen’


The Avengers, Watchmen
Marvel Studios, Warner Bros.

How did Joss Whedon ensure that he was making the right choices on ‘The Avengers‘? By looking at the superhero comic book films that came before to see what they did right, and more importantly, what they did wrong.

It’s difficult for directors to find that line between staying true to the source material and creating something new for fans and general audiences alike. Zack Snyder made the right call changing the end of ‘Watchmen’ to appeal to a wider audience, but some fans were understandably unhappy about the change. How do you make sure everyone walks away having had the best experience possible with a comic book film?

Badass Digest reports that during the press day for ‘The Avengers,’ Whedon offered up what he learned from the comic book movies of the past:

It’s capturing the essence of the comic and being true to what’s wonderful about it, while remembering that it’s a movie and not a comic.  I think ‘Spider-Man,’ the first one particularly, really captured [the spirit of the comic]. They figured out the formula of oh, tell the story that they told in the comic.  It was compelling, that’s why it’s iconic, but at the same time they did certain things that only a movie can do [but] were in the vein of the comic.

I think you see things like ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,’ where they just threw out the comic, or ‘Watchmen,’ where they do it frame for frame, and neither of them work.  You have to give the spirit of the thing and then step away from that, and create something cinematic and new.

And there you have it. Whedon maintains that the best way to approach a comic book movie is by finding that sweet spot between being too loyal to the source material and not being true enough. It sounds simple enough, right? Then why are so many other directors getting it wrong?

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