'Watchmen' Aims To Answer Typical Superhero Films

Patrick Wilson as Nite-Owl Patrick Wilson as Nite-Owl

Zack Snyder is standing inside a 9,000 pound, tanklike metal pod in the center of the crowded Comic-Con floor. He nonchalantly points out the features of the Owl Ship, a real-life version of the flying vehicle from the award-winning graphic novel “Watchmen.”

“The Owl Ship’s got to have an eight-track,” Snyder says. “There’s also a coffee maker. That’s really important to the Owl Ship.”

Snyder, whose adaptation of the graphic novel “300” grossed more than $200 million, says directing “Watchmen” isn’t a job he would have sought, but it’s one that suits him fine: Staying true to a beloved story that dismantles the superhero archetype.

“These modern superheroes, like Iron Man, Batman and Superman, they’re our mythology and (author) Alan (Moore) sort of deconstructed that mythology and said no, they’re us,” Snyder says. “Other superhero movies — ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Batman’ — they’re like a mishmash off all the different mythology. The Joker, he’s a great character, but there’s no bible for how that character should be. … People sort of group ‘Watchmen’ with the Batman and Iron Man superhero movies, (but) those things don’t have quintessential and set works of literature that support (them). They do, but it’s all spread out.”

Snyder says his adaptation of Warner Bros. “Watchmen,” slated for release next March, is more true to the source material than was the Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men.”

He sticks to the story because of the complex concepts involved, he says, such as exploring superheroes’ ethical and moral challenges.

The story “deconstructs heroes. … It kind of takes it all the way,” Snyder says. “How far do you take this superhero thing? Do you take a cat out of a tree or do you create world peace? That’s really the dilemma that they face. Superman has the ability to go to all the world leaders and say, ‘I will kill all of you if you don’t behave.’ He could do that, but why doesn’t he?”

Comic-Con opened Thursday at the San Diego Convention Center.

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