Watchmen Review

Comic book nerds, rejoice! The long-awaited Watchmen movie is finally here! We've been waiting since last July, as the preview first premiered before the mega-blockbuster The Dark Knight. The preview tells the basic plot of the Watchmen: In a 1945 era where President Nixon is serving his fifth term. After an ex-superhero, the Comedian, is murdered, one of the Watchmen, Rorschach decides to investigate. "One of us died tonight. Somebody knows why. Somebody knows." These are the words spoken by Rorschach in a Batman sort of growl, played by Jackie Earle Haley, most known for being in last year's Semi-Pro with Will Ferrell and Little Children with Kate Winslet. Earle Haley is only one of the odd actors chosen to play the Watchmen superheroes. Malin Akerman, who was in The Heartbreak Kid and 27 Dresses, plays Silk Spectre II; Billy Crudup, who was in The Good Shepherd, Mission: Impossible III and Big Fish plays Dr. Manhattan; Matthew Goode, who was in Match Point and Brideshead Revisited plays Adrian; Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Denny Duquette on Grey's Anatomy plays the Comedian; and Patrick Wilson, who was in Lakeview Terrace and Hard Candy plays Nite Owl II.

Watchmen was also directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed the Frank Miller graphic novel adaptation, 300. I was expecting great things from him, as he was the most controversial member of the Watchmen cast, as people didn't know what to expect from his directing. I was neither satisfied nor unsatisfied. The movie was very dark, which I was expecting from it, as the graphic novel it's based upon is a "comic book for adults." I also thought that he captured the gloomy feeling of the movie perfectly, up until an hour and a half into the film. After that, it felt like a bad George Lucas impersonation. Zack Snyder also used the slow-mo effect on the movie whenever he got a chance too, and that got pretty annoying as well. He directed a Nixon-revolution sort of thing; Watchmen reminded me a lot of V for Vendetta. He was, however, very faithful to the graphic novel. Watchmen is a near perfect page-by-page adaptation. Snyder was a great choice for directing what original comic book illustrator Alan Moore called "un-filmable". I agree with Moore, it is indeed un-filmable, due to the novel's jumpy story and plotline. But I believe that this is as good as it could've got.

The Watchmen graphic novel was on Time Magazine's Best 100 English-language novels of 1923-the present. That's why it was such a risk to turn this into a movie. The graphic novel itself is pretty long, so it's no wonder that the Watchmen movie was 2 hours 45 minutes. About a half hour too long. But I didn't mind the duration of the movie; you get your money's worth. And it allows you to sit in a dark, heated movie theater for 3 hours and forget all of your worries.

I also would've liked to see more of the Watchmen heroes' pasts. We got to see Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre's, but I wanted to know more about Nite Owl and Adrian. Silk Spectre and Dr. Manhattan were the two reasons that this movie had the "R" rating. Manhattan wore no clothes in the movie, so be prepared for lots of blue nudity. Dr. Manhattan has the power to see his own past, present and future, so he helps Spectre recall her past, saying that she's "scared". I don't want to give too much away, but it gets pretty sexually explicit. The two along with Nite Owl have sex at least 3 times in Watchmen, too. The blood-and-gore content wasn't as bad as I was prepared for it would be. If you can handle a midget's red-water leaking underneath a prison bathroom door, then you can handle the Watchmen. Exciting movie? Yes. But like a lot of movies, explosive action doesn't make up for a confusing and dull story. A movie that comes to mind is Michael Bay's Transformers. Sure it had cool special effects, but so much that you didn't quite follow the actual story. Replace some of the fight scenes in Transformers with time-consuming dialogue and you get the Watchmen. It's a gorgeous film to look at (the cinematography is absolutely breathtaking), but the idea of a Watchmen movie is more fun than the actual flick. The movie is supposed to show that Superman is for grown-ups, too, but If you take away all of the sex and blood, you basically have what could've been a PG-13 movie that you would see 7 and 8 year olds at.

It is cool, but I craved a lot more from the movie. Watchmen brings you face-to-face with what could happen if society actually shunned superheroes. Picture The Incredibles, but add nudity and a lot more violence. It's what everyone at the water cooler will be talking about, so I say see it. The first mega-movie of 2009 was a disappointment. Let's hope the rest of the year goes better than this. I give Watchmen 2/5 stars.

For a video review, click here.

About this entry