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'Watchmen': The early reviews are in

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Watchmen_lWe’re still eight days away from Watchmen Day (March 6, for those of you who don’t follow such things), but people are beginning to lay eyes on Zack Snyder’s epic superhero treatise/action spectacle. It had its World Premiere in London a few days ago, and it’s been screening here and there for select parties — and with the Cone of Silence starting to lift, we’re getting a sense of the early reaction. In a word: mixed.

As anyone with half a brain might’ve predicted, from the Fan quadrant, Watchmen is, for the most part, a life-changing, Holy Grailicious event. But the mainstream media — mostly made of critics who haven’t spent untold hours digesting Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seismic graphic novel — isn’t quite as rapturous.

A quick early-reviews rundown, after the jump. And, of course, be sure to check back next week for the official EW review.

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Watchmen was never likely to exceed the huge weight of expectation, buthere is a performance which does. And the film itself? It’s closer thanyou’d think.” — Steve Anglesley

“Okay, it isn’t the graphic novel, but Zack Snyder clearly gives a toss,creating a smart, stylish, decent adaptation, if low on accessibilityfor the non-convert.” — Ian Nathan

Verdict: Negative
“There is something a little lackadaisical here. The set pieces aresurprisingly flat and the characters have little resonance. Fightscenes don’t hold a candle to Asian action. Even the digitaleffects are ho-hum. Armageddon never looked so cheesy.” — Kirk Honeycutt

Verdict: Positive
“As the first attempt to make atruly post-adolescent comic book movie, Watchmen is, literally, peerless.” — Kevin Mahler

“As Watchmen lurches toward its apocalyptic (and slightly altered)finale, something happens that didn’t happen in the novel: Wavering intone between seriousness and camp, and absent the cerebral tone thatgave weight to some of the book’s headier ideas, the film seems toyield to the very superhero cliches it purports to subvert.” — Justin Chang

More ‘Watchmen’:
‘Watchmen’: An exclusive first look
‘Watchmen’: Inside Zack Snyder’s outrageous new movie
‘Watchmen’: 17 stunning portraits
‘Watchmen’: An oral history
‘Watchmen’ lawsuit: It’s settled 
‘Watchmen’ vs. Star Trek: Pick best trailer
‘Watchmen’ worth the fuss: Kevin Smith
 ‘Watchmen’ Creator Alan Moore: The EW Q&A (July 2008)