Comic Con’s “Watchmen” Preview: The Good, the Bad, and the Veidt

Last night, Warner Brothers released the Watchmen preview that aired at this year’s Comic Con. In lieu of a “leak,” they just admitted that the Internet is a great publicity tool and made it available as a free iTunes download. It’s halfway between a trailer and a string of clips selected at random, and some of it has by now been featured in theatrical trailers, but there’s enough new stuff here to interest a casual fan, and enough evidence of obsessive moviemaking to make diehard fans happy (or at least less panicked).

While the footage has reportedly been trimmed of some violence, it’s largely intact—and largely awesome. Under the cut, I break down the good, the bad, and the Veidt.

The world will look up and shout, “No spoilers!”

The Good

1. Our first look at Rorschach’s shifting mask, which is as subtle and creepy as anyone could hope.

2. The overall griminess of the production design is extremely effective; from the mildew creeping across the tile beside the Nite Owl uniforms to the truly nasty streaks of slime on the prison walls, this world is as bleak and run-down as Moore intended.

3. The Comedian has a framed picture of Laura in his apartment. (I won’t lie, I made a little noise.)

4. The shot of The Comedian looking up at Silk Spectre and grinning means very little unless you’re in the know, but gives you goose bumps if you are.

5. Patrick Wilson as Dan Dreiberg. He gained weight for the role rather than wear a padded suit, and he seems to have committed as much to the part in every other respect—he’s the ultimate sad-sack Everyman who’s trying to recapture the greatness he never achieved on the first go-round.

The Bad

1. Laurie Juspeczyk seems impossibly young, and all the awesome hair in the world is not going to help that.

2. Too much Dr. Manhattan. The more we see of Billy Crudup in the role the less I’m convinced he can do the job, and that’s probably not the effect anyone was going for.

3. Where’s the world? Zack Snyder solicited for homemade ads for Veidt products to run in the background, so we know he’s building it out; let’s see it!

4. Are they setting up Dan Dreiberg as the romantic hero? We get several close-ups and two near-kisses in three minutes of footage, and while I’m as fond of Dan as anyone, the whole point of Watchmen is to take the idea of the romantic hero out back and beat the snot out of it to teach it a lesson.

5. No dialogue! Is it because they knew no one would hear anything over the sound of a thousand fans flipping out?

The Veidt

1. I understand that the studio is trying to keep him on the down-low, but it’s getting ridiculous. We only get one shot of him, and he looks like Lestat got into a fight with Christopher Walken and lost. I worry.

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