Watchmen (2009)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Possibly one of the best opening credits, smart adaptation

Bloated, too long, changes could anger die-hard fans

 
Movie Info

Movie Name: Watchmen

Studio: Warner Bros.

Genre(s): Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Drama

Release Date(s): March 6, 2009

MPAA Rating: R

watchmen-comedian

What’s so F*!#@ing funny? I am!

Edward Blake is killed in his home by a super-powered assassin.  The word goes out among the former members of the Minutemen that someone is hunting them.  Now the outlawed superheroes are forced back into action and wonder if the Comedian’s murder is just part of a bigger plan that could threaten the world.

Directed by Zack Snyder, Watchmen adapts the classic and critically acclaimed Alan Moore graphic novel from 1986.  The movie was met with so-so reviews but positive notes for the look of the film.  A corresponding video game called Watchmen:  The End Is Nigh (in two parts) was released as a prequel to the film.

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Hey guys…everyone freeze…do you realize we look just like the Last Supper…Only coincidence probably

“Who watches the Watchmen?”  I do!  I am a Watchmen movie defender.  It is bloated, it does have slow parts, and it does change aspects of the story.  For years the movie had floated around Hollywood and suffered many “false starts” before finally being made by Zack Snyder.  It fought the urge to update the story (which would have been a nightmare) and set it as it was originally intended in 1985.

That is part of the problem with the Watchmen.  It was made almost 20 years too late.  The Cold War aspects of the story might be hard to understand for younger viewers, older viewers might be turned off by the comic book nature of the movie, and people faithful to the comic might be turned off by the changes.

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The (semi) good old days

Alan Moore’s comic was revolutionary and this is hard to see in this adaptation because comics have moved so far since Watchmen was released.  It took popular comics from the realm of kids to adults, and for the most part, a majority of comics have remained at this elevated level of readers.  The book dealt with rape, murder, and betrayal…things that were not meant for children.

I think the changes made to Watchmen actually make sense.  In the story, the giant squid solution to the story seemed like a lot of work for very little payoff.  It especially doesn’t make sense since Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) is like another “super-power” in the middle of Soviet Union and the United States.  The idea of setting up Manhattan as the weapon also helps solve the problem of what to do with him.  There is a throwback to the original idea (the machine used to simulate Manhattan’s powers is called S. Q. U. I. D.), but I think the giant squid would have been a bust on the big screen.

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Don’t hate me and my naked body…I’m just so detached from you

A lot of talk was made of Dr. Manhattan’s “lack” of costume (and I can’t believe I’m taking time to defend this part of the movie).  I am glad they chose to stick to that part of the story Maybe the giant close up on IMAX wasn’t necessary, but it is a necessary aspect of understanding the character (who is the most interesting part of the movie).  He has become so detatched from society, he sees no need for clothes…He doesn’t care who he offends because he doesn’t care about the individual.  If he had worn clothes it would have been a cop-out and against character.

The movie has problems I don’t deny it.  It has one of the best openings of all time (Time They Are A’Changin’ with the history of the Watchmen being shown).  That makes the rest of the film a bit of a let down because it is hard to live up to the opening.  Nite-Owl (Patrick Wilson) and Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman)  aren’t the most interesting parts of the movie (but they also were dead points in the book).  Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) feels like he’s doing a Batman Begins rip off at points and Ozymandias (Matthew Goode) never develops much until the end.

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Who watches the Watchmen? I do!

Alan Moore’s stuff has been notoriously tough to adapt.  V for Vendetta did a good job…League of Extraordinary Gentlemen…ugh.  Even with Watchmen‘s length, extra material that covers Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood were released as separately.  An Ultimate Cut was released where they were mixed back into the film and that version was 3 1/2 hours!!!  I’m content with the Director’s Cut and still recommend “watching the Watchmen”.

Related Links:

Watchmen

Watchmen:  The End Is Nigh

Before Watchmen:  Minutemen/Silk Spectre

Before Watchmen:  Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair

Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan

Before Watchmen:  Comedian/Rorschach

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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