Fan Film, Fan Films

Prep For Watchmen With The League

the-leagueEveryone’s eagerly anticipating next Spring’s Watchmen movie, and with good reason—Hollywood’s been promising it for 20 years now. If you’re looking for a way to bide the time until then, there’s that incredible  book that my wife had to yank out of my hands when we were leaving Borders yesterday (me wants!). There’s also a variety of Watchmen fan films, but you really ought to sink your teeth into The League instead.

The film follows a band of original, yet strangely familiar superheroes who began their adventures in the 1940s, but the story takes place decades later, after cynicism and aging have started to take their toll. That’s where the similarities with Watchmen end, however; in fan film terms, The League has much more in common with Grayson, the acclaimed Robin pseudo-trailer, and Tomorrow’s Memoir, which follows the film noir ramblings of geriatric Superman.

Like Grayson, the flick follows The Sparrow, a former “kid sidekick” turned angry adult who looks for answers and ain’t happy with what he finds. Similar to Tomorrow’s Memoir, this film is likewise shot in lush, dark tones with a infinesimal color pallate. Nonetheless, where Memoir aims for an Ansel Adams-like stillness, The League has more in common with Weegee: There’s artistry at work here, but with a layer of ugly grit atop it.

While The League has a lot going for it, with an intriguing concept and lovely cinematography, it does have its limits. None of the characters feel particularly developed and the effects are a bit hit and miss. For instance, The Blue Blaze—a Green Lantern-type—looks phenomenal; the exploding building? Ehh….

Still, The League is a solid effort, especially for a student thesis film, and it comes with a pedigree, no less. While attending Chapman University, director/co-writer Kyle Higgins interned at The Donner Company (as in Richard Donner, director of Superman, Lethal Weapons 1-4); while there, got to spitball the idea around with James Bond/Superman screenwriting legend Tom Mankiewicz. You can read all about it in this excellent interview. Now that Higgins has graduated from Chapman, keep an eye out for his name; if The League is any indication, you’ll probably see it again.

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5 Responses to “Prep For Watchmen With The League”

  1. I’m hoping to get the Watching the Watchmen book for Christmas. It does look amazing.

    As for The League I like it a lot. I’ll be mentioning it on the LFF site if that’s okay.

    Remembered where I’d heard about your book and it was when I was looking into the Hunter Prey movie.

    Me thinks I’ll be picking up a copy of your book soon.

    Good luck with it and you’ve got a great site.

  2. rama


    I just read your comment on my story today in The Washington Post about the spoof industry in Malegaon.

    I did not know about this genre. And I am intrigued. Pl do tell me more.

    I am aware of Bakhtin’s carnival=film theory, official authority and high culture were jostled from below by elements of satire, parody. This jostling from below keeps the so-called original from deadening.

    Tell me more about your work. I would like to learn from you.

    Thanks for writing.


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