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
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
Not being a big follower of the endless slew of comic book conversions, I was refreshingly surprised with how good this film is. Directed by Zack Snyder, who previously made 300, apparently the movie has been stuck in development hell for years with one director after another bailing out, since the original graphic novel is a rich and complex environment that has a Lord of The Rings unfilmability (though of course, Peter Jackson proved everyone one on that one). There … more
Let's just say that I should have stuck with my gut and not have seen this movie. I knew it was going to be bad and it was. A stupid trailer that was better then the first one made me go see this movie and I dragged other people with me including my fiance who had to be up early the next day. What was so terrible about this movie? For one thing the blue dangling penis that happened to be waving for most of the move. I mean really, it should have had a line in the credits because it was … more
Pros: Wow. Just...whoa. Cons: Not for everyone, definitely. The Bottom Line: A movie that takes time to absorb - even a carload of friends may be silent for a bit on the way home before launching into typical after-movie conversation. I just got home from watching Watchmen. It is currently 12:07 AM. The movie began at 9:00 and ended around 11:45 PM, so be ready for a picture that's long and involved. &nbs … more
Fanboys rejoice! Director Zack Snyder, of "300" fame, has faithfully adapted Alan Moore's acclaimed graphic novel "Watchmen" with intensity, style and passion. The film has a few minor flaws in its narrative, as it crams an epic story into 2 hours and 43 minutes, however the end result will entertain casual moviegoers looking for an action movie with a brain. "Watchmen" revolves around the lives of estranged heroes who have devoted their lives to protecting a world that has … 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.