Watchmen is one of those movies you really have to see at least twice to get the full effect.
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Screenplay: David Benioff
Principles: Billy Crudup, Mailin Akerman, Matthew Goode, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Stephen McHattie, and Carla Gugino
Running Time: 251 minutes
MPAA Rating: "R" for: Strong graphic violence, sex, nudity, & language
Ah, Comic Books, they are the province of fertile imaginations and seriously good artwork. I didn't really cotton to the $.75 color rags growing up; I got into them after I was stationed overseas and longed for a patch of home. My favorites were those from Marvel Comics: Xmen, Wolverine, The Mighty Thor, and Spiderman. DC Comics were never that exciting for me, Superman aside of course. So I was never fan of The Watchmen, though I have heard of the comic series.
But, comics made into movies, well no matter who inked the paper, it's time to watch. Some like the original Superman (1978) were instant classics, while others like The Punisher (2004), and Punisher: War Zone (2008) were, well, instant stinkers. Watchmen (2009), while not as fun to watch as Superman is certainly darker and every bit as engaging and entertaining.
Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead), Watchmen is based on a 12-issue limited series comic book created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins, and published by DC Comics in 1986 -1987.
The basic premise: someone is killing some of the ex-members of the superhero group The Watchmen formed before World War II. They include Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre (Carla Gugino ~ Snake Eyes, Spin City, Chicago Hope), Edward Blake/The Comedian (Jeffery Dean Morgan ~ Supernatural, P.S. I Love You, Grey's Anatomy), Hollis Mason/Night Owl (Stephen McHattie ~ Beauty and the Beast, Cold Squad, 2012).
Now it's left up to the new members of the recently disbanded Watchmen to find out who has it out for the good guy and why. The new members include Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman ~ The Comeback, 27 Dresses, Couples Retreat), Dan Drieberg/Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson ~ Angels in America, Little Children, Lakeview Terrace), Walter Kovacs/Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley ~ Breaking Way, Little Children), and Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman (Billy Crudup ~ Waking the Dead, Almost Famous, The Good Shepherd).
The new team has been disbanded by order of President Nixon(?), who in this alternative universe has been elected to office five times! Nonetheless, before the end of the movie three of the four Watchmen band together to battle Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias (Matthew Goode ~ Match Point, The Lookout), the "smartest (and fastest) man in the world," as he hatches a sinister plot to save mankind from itself.
Watchmen is thankfully rated "R" so you know the movie means business and will truly entertain in a manner befitting such a dark piece of work. Director Zack Snyder brings to the movie that same sort of dark noir setting that made 300 (2006) such a critical success, complete with slow motion action sequences that really bring the viewer into the film. I loved it in 300, and I love it here on Watchmen.
From where I sitting (and writing) there is nothing wrong with an occasional movie that shocks the senses, an adult movie with truckloads of gore, sessions and sessions worth of angst, superhero sex, unschooled, nails-on-a-blackboard narration, seriously fun fight scenes, and enough back-story to fill in even the most casual comic-book reader. Watchmen delivers all of this and quite a bit more.
Slow in places, especially at the beginning, the 251 minutes movie nonetheless never fails to entertain, and do in spades once the action really ramps up. Watchmen does an excellent job creating the dark, complex, alternate reality which unfolds like a bad nightmare, but don't shy away or you'll miss the rewards that come from a well-crafted adult-themed movie. And I don't mean adult as in XXX, but a serious thinking man-and woman'-movie where the kiddies can be safely excluded.
But Watchmen isn't all darkness and grim faced, there is fun afoot as well in the guise of Pat Buchanan and Eleanor Clift arguing nuclear war on PBS's The McLaughlin Report. Richard Nixon and his cabinet make frequent, if not hilarious appearances as larger than life bumbling idiots lazily taking the country to the brink of nuclear war.
Also look for Ted Koppel, JFK, Lee Iacocca and others to make cameos in this alternative landscape, wherein America won the Vietnam War (thanks to Dr. Manhattan), and the American Dream is a nightmare un vapid unfulfilled promises and the country is on the brink of self-destruction.
Watchmen is one of those movies you really have to see at least twice to get the full effect and to soak in little things happing in the scenes you may have missed first time through. So, I'll be watching the move again thanks to my trusty DVR. Even if you watch it once, I think you'll be glad to you did.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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