Cons: Plot may be to complex for some, violence can be graphic.
The Bottom Line: A very fresh and entertaining film.
In an alternate 1985, where Nixon is president, The U.S. won the Vietnam War, and costumed heroes have been banned by an act of the Senate, a superhero is killed. The death of the mercurial entity known as The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) sets a string of events into motion that will soon see the world poised on the edge of nuclear annihilation, and the few remaining heroes locked in a life or death race against time to save the world. In the gritty and compelling new movie “Watchmen” by Director Zack Snyder, a clever blend of film noir and gumshoe style films of old combined with action and adventure as well as a deep examination of human frailties to create a film like no other.
No sooner has the death of the Comedian hit the streets (literally), when the edgy vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), begins to suspect that there is a larger and far more sinister plot in effect, one that has targeted the few remaining costumed avengers of New York City. Rorschach’s theory is disbelieved by his former associate Dan (Patrick Wilson), who prowled the streets as Night Owl and is now content to keep to himself, with his days of costumed glory behind him. He keeps his social circle limited to the first Night Owl and visiting with Laurie Jupiter ( Malin Akerman), and her husband, Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup).
With his concerns being dismissed, Rorschach is left to do the legwork on the mystery which soon shifts into high gear when he is framed for a murder he actually did not commit and an attempt is made on the life of the other former Watchmen, Ozymandias (Matthew Goode). With Rorschach in prison and surrounded by enemies, Dr. Manhattan, the all powerful and blue skinned being, is forced to take refuge on Mars after Laurie leaves him and a series of accusations are levied against him at a press conference .
It soon becomes clear to all that the death of The Comedian was not a random act of violence or a simple act of revenge, but rather the first salvo in a war against costumed heroes. With the former team in chaos, Laurie to take up residence with Dan, who has long held a torch for her, to defy the government order and suit up again. After saving a group of people from a fire, Laurie and Dan find the passion and purpose that has been missing from their post-hero lives and passionately unite and set out to free Rorschach and get to the bottom of the conspiracy before it is to late.
The film is an amazing mix of comic book action and mystery that includes a suprising amount of mature material that examines everything from humanity’s ultimate destiny to the inner psyche of tortured and flawed individuals. The characters all have their flaws and traumas and compensate by donning masks and taking on new personas. The deeply troubled Rorschach is filled in by some horrific and disturbing flashbacks that show how he became the disturbed and deeply dangerous crusader for justice that he is, so extreme in his measures that he is wanted by the police for his actions. Dan and Laurie try to move on from their past, but find that they are more comfortable in their costumed personas than they are in their day-to-day lives. Dr. Manhattan is perhaps the most dysfunctional of all as he has shut himself off from his wife, humanity, and joy. He has evolved beyond caring for anything but his experiments.
Snyder keeps the nearly three hour film moving at a brisk pace and deftly captures the look and tone of the graphic novel on which the film is based. The opening segment that shows alternate versions of great moments in history is amazing, as is the well choreographed action sequences. Despite being a superhero film, “Watchmen” is a superb mystery and drama that is loaded with interesting characters and clever social commentary. The cast is very strong, and Haley is remarkable as Rorschach. He is utterly captivating whenever he is on the screen and has crafted a true modern anti-hero for the masses.
Some may find the graphic violence and sex in the film a bit extreme, but in order to fully capture the duality of the characters and the dark world that they dwell in, it was in many ways restrained from what is actually implied by the source material. “Watchmen”, is a true marvel and is one of the most entertaining, diverse, and original action films in memory.
Movie Mood: Action Movie Viewing Method: Press Screening Film Completeness: Looked complete to me. Worst Part of this Film: Nothing
All I know about WATCHMEN I learned from the movies. I'd never read the graphic novel…I'd never heard of it, in fact, until buzz about the movie started. So I cannot comment on the faithfulness to the source, or whether it captures the spirit of the original work. So for this novice, WATCHMEN was a big, often entertaining, sometimes tedious mish-mash of straight-forward action film, a tongue-in-cheek spin on the superhero genre and a sometimes interesting … more
Careful what you ask for, you just might get it. I always wanted to see the Watchmen made into a movie. At the same time I knew it would be a train wreck. It had to be. How can you get everything from the graphic novel into one movie? You can't. it's just that simple. Still they tried. Problem is I don't give credit for effort. Only for success. The biggest problem for me is how they changed the ending. … more
I'm a firm believer in that you shouldn't review something if you don't know the full story (or at least the background), like a person who doesn't play video games reviewing a video game movie or criticizing a Sci-fi film because you don't understand something or a better example me reviewing the Watchmen Movie. See i never read the graphic novel so I went into the theater (opening day might I add) expecting a classic Superhero movie, (Spiderman, … more
WARNING: This review may contain spoilers! For the past decade Hollywood has been scrambling over the rights to adapt comic book characters to the big screen. This year one of the most celebrated graphic novels is being brought to theatres in a cinematic adaptation that may very well be the most highly anticipated film of 2009. But can director Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Alan Moore's masterpiece Watchmen satisfy legions of rabid comic book fans and still succeed commercially … more
If there's one thing that I lament about the film-going experience as I get older, it's that I move further and further away from the boy who used to watch movies with unquestioning wide-eyed amazement. When I turned thirteen I started looking at film with a slightly more critical and as the years packed on with an increasingly cynical eye. It's a very rare experience for me to walk into a film without the baggage of 20 odd years of cinema watching experience, comparing … more
I never read the old Watchmen book. Called by many the greatest graphic novel ever and read by millions, I was going to consider reading it after I saw the film maybe catching what they changed and get more insight but now, I think I'll pass. The film is about an alternate 1985 where Nixon has remained in office and the world is constantly facing a doomsday clock where Russia could launch it's weapons in a moments notice. A once proud group of masked crime fighters have … more
Comic book adaptations are all the rage these days and they are a dime-a-dozen. To prepare for the film and to write this review, I re-read the graphic novel so I can give a more detailed viewpoint. "Watchmen" is adapted from the award-winning 12-issue mini-series in the 80's which in turn became a popular graphic novel. The graphic novel was written by Alan Moore (From Hell, V for Vendetta) and illustrated by Dave Gibbons (Green Lantern) and adapted to the big screen by Zack Snyder (300). … more
It's really a mixed bag. A lot of what worked for the graphic novel doesn't translate well to the big screen. But it comes alive enough to keep you entertained, even if it doesn't fully satisfy. A few cheesy liners and a few moments where the movie takes itself a little too seriously is nothing to deter anyone from going to see it. And for what it's worth it's a decent movie. The problem isn't so much the movie, but more that what they had to work with was very complicated. I would say they did … more
Zach Snyder does his best to adapt the "unfilmable" graphic novel magnum opus from Alan Moore, and comes up short from either fans who wanted more, or didn't think it stuck close enough to the source, not to mention the general public who the story went over they're heads due to almost requiring the audience to come in knowing whats going on. Uneven performances and loss of narrative hurt what could have been a pretty good adaption.
The movie was a little bit dark (the superheroes in this parallel universe literally kill their enemies) but I found it entertaining throughout. The movie starts with the murder of The Comedian, a sometimes hero, most times a nasty bully acting as a hero. He was part of a group of masked adventurers called the Watchmen. Most of the Watchmen were retired but they get together at the funeral and each has their memories of the group that go back to the 1940's. There is also … more
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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There have been numerous attempts to adapt the superlative graphic novel Watchmen, which was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, into a feature film. The first serious proposal to do so came in the late 1980s and for a long time director Terry Gilliam (director of Brazil and 12 Monkeys) showed interest in making the film. However, after numerous attempts to create a script, Gilliam was quoted as saying that the graphic novel was too complex and too amorphous for even him to adapt. Later acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain) was reported as a possible director, but this never came into fruition. Initially set to direct the film was Paul Greengrass (director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum). However he was sacked during budget disputes at Paramount Studios, who were at the time meant to release the film. Since then Zack Snyder (director of the remake of Dawn of the Dead and of the film adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel 300) has been assigned the role of director and the film has been moved from Paramount to Warner Bros. Studios.
The film was released on March 6 of 2009. On July 21 of 2009 the film was released in both theatrical and director's cut editions on DVD. On November 10 of 2009 the film was released in an Ultimate Edition containing Tales of the Black Freighter animated sequences and linking scenes.