Written by David Hayter and Alex Tse
Directed by Zack Snyder
Running Time: 2:46
for strong graphic violence,
sexuality, nudity and language.
Watchmen was a decent movie but for someone who has never read the graphic novel upon which it is based, I didn't appreciate it as much as someone who has.
The main storyline involves the death of a man known as the Comedian. The Comedian was a member of a superhero group known as the Watchmen. For a while they were cheered as heroes as they protected the people of the United States from the bad guys. But over time, they power got to their heads and the people they were protecting, needed to be protected from them. The government banned all masked heroes and the Watchmen disbanded. The Comedian and fellow Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan were kept on the government payroll. After the Comedian's death under highly unusual circumstances, the Watchmen are forced to come back together to solve the mystery out of fear that someone is targeting former masked superheroes. Lead by the slightly insane Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias try and uncover the truth - but their pursuit of justice may lead to the destruction of the world.
As I said, I've never read the Watchmen comic, I've only read about the comic. I had a basic understanding of the story but that was about all. My main impression of the movie is something I feel about a lot of movies - it was too long. Running at around 2 hours and 45 minutes, they could have easily chopped out 45 minutes and made a very clean and linear story. That being said, if they had done that, the fanboys would have revolted long before the movie even came out and that would have buried it. So I understand why the movie is as in depth as it is - because they had to make the movie as close to the comic as possible. But for me, there were long sequences that just kept going on and on and didn't have much to do with the murder mystery. Any time Dr. Manhattan was on screen, I loved how cool he was and how he could do virtually anything he wanted, but he was so cerebral and would talk for so long, that he would put me to sleep. His blue glow was like a nightlight. Yes, in the whole eventual scheme of the movie, his character is important but his scenes would drag on.
Far and away the best character was Rorschach. Every time he was on screen you knew something worthwhile was going to happen. He's like a smaller and crazier Batman. He was completely no-nonsense - if he wanted something he was going to get it. His world wasn't gray - it was all black and white. You were either morally right or you were wrong and he believed this to his detriment. Jackie Earle Haley was tremendous in the role. He completely owned the character and had the single best line in the film when he's in prison. I won't ruin it but if your audience is/was anything like mine, there will be a round of applause when he says it. I would love to see a movie based solely on his character. The other standout was Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian. He was a complete bastard but loved every minute of it - someone who'd risk his life to protect others but also felt he deserved more than he got. The one character I didn't like was Silk Spectre, mainly because of the actress playing her, Malin Ackerman. She's a sweet, good looking girl, but she was overmatched for the role. This movie was very dark and moody and she's a lighthearted, romantic comedy kind of girl. She always felt out of place when she spoke and any time she talked it didn't feel right. That being said, her action sequences were pretty good.
In fact, all the action sequences were very entertaining. From the Comedian's death at the beginning through Silk Spectre and Nite Owl breaking Rorschach out of prison, the action moments were highly stylized and extremely brutal. If someone had their arm broken, you would see the arm snap in half. It was bloody, gory violence and I enjoyed all of it. Visually the movie was pretty strong as well. Whether you like Zack Snyder as a director or not (I do) you have to admit he's got a great eye for visuals. The main story focused on the death of the Comedian, but it all eventually got tied into something much more sinister. At its very basic, the plot line was actually pretty solid. The movie takes place during an alternate version of 1985 where Richard Nixon has been elected President for the 5th time. The Cold War is still going on but the world is on the brink of nuclear annihilation with Russia positioning themselves on the border of Afghanistan. The only reason the world hasn't exploded yet is because of Dr. Manhattan's abilities. The movie shows a bunch of 80s icons throughout and does a very good job bringing us back to that time period, but also showing what it would have looked like if the world did have superheroes.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I'm not the biggest fan of Watchmen, but I do believe it is worth seeing. It drags on in bits but if you're a fan of the comic, you'll appreciate the attention to detail. If you're a fan of filmmaking you'll enjoy it as well.
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