Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Thriller, Crime/Gangster and Adaptation
Running Time: 163 min.
Release Date: March 6th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language.
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Director: Zack Snyder
JJ Rating: A-
A reality take on superheroes; aka a cynical look. The Watchmen.
From the beginning to the end the movie is murky with who is good and who is evil. It is questionable on what way to bring about ‘peace’ to mankind. It spins morals on the top of its head and flips it so frequently that those that don’t have any won’t know what’s up and what’s down by the time the film is over. There is a disconnect that the film provides for the characters as well as the story that is being told.
For me the movie is very close to the graphic novel. There is one storyline that isn’t fully told because it would have weighted the movie down with time more than it already was, and that was the man who read the comic next to the newsstand. The graphic novel lacks the same sort of connection as the movie. It feels as if I can totally relate with Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) and his inability to connect with humans as a whole. In the graphic novel it points out that Dr. Manhattan (or Jon) can see molecules or something microscopic that we humans cannot. I don’t know if it was said in the film but this adds to why he cannot connect. He has a different perception not only in thoughts and views but physically as well.
I got the graphic novel to read it so that I could compare it to the film. It goes without saying that the book is better, but people use their imagination and selfishly create their own world and then set themselves up for disappointment by building it up prior to seeing the movie. This is why some people who like the cynicism in the graphic novel tend to be overly critical of the film itself.
If I were to have a favorite it would be Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley). I like how gruff he sounded and how he was over all portrayed. I understand that not everything can be in the film, but in the graphic novel it does get into how he got his mask and it’s a good back story as any in any comic book. He knows what he wants to do and he won’t back down from it. To me he reminds me of a warped Cyclops. There’s The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who was murdered at the beginning of the film and the reason why people come back to their old habits of crime fighting. He reminds me of a disturbed Wolverine.
When you read something first you then compare those things you read after it. Had I read X-Men after I read The Watchmen I might see things differently. I’m glad I didn’t but I could have. Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) was a gutless Batman. But even though his attitude was different from Batman’s he surely had the fighting skills like Batman, if not better than.
Speaking of Batman, I’m glad that Nite Owl and Ozymandias’ (Matthew Goode) costumes were changed for the film. How they looked in the comic book was a bit retarded. I like the updated versions because they fit in more with the rest of the group and it wasn’t so campy, though the past costumes for the costume avengers from the 60’s and back were, but that was good for the fantastic montage that was at the beginning with a song by Bob Dylan. I loved the beginning. Also Silk Spectore II (Malin Akerman) looked much better in what they had her in the film than what she was in the novel.
Just to make sure people understand this: only Dr. Manhattan had super powers. The rest of them were really good at fighting and maybe Ozymandias had a quick ability that was more super human, but over all they were all in peak shape and that’s about it. I believe I’m correct on that, but I could be off somewhere.
The film was long and enjoyable. I liked hearing lines that were pulled from the words that were printed some 20 odd years ago. The visuals were astonishing. It was just a beautifully shot film. Even with the blood and the bones sticking out or anything that was graphic in violence it had a painters touch to it. There was beauty in ever frame. It had structure and purpose and determination to translate something so powerfully difficult into a medium that people who never read the graphic novel could feel the meaning that the words drove into those that did read it’s minds. Zack Snyder waved a magic wand and like Dr. Manhattan on Mars created a sight not many could have imagined possible with this graphic novel’s difficult story.
I still hold X-Men as the more powerful story over The Watchmen and more important to our world than The Watchmen. But The Watchmen are important even if in comparison I think they are not so well put together as one might think. The cynicism is a total turn off for me, but the dark comedic aspects that are riddle throughout this film are a total heart string puller. I just fell in love with the graphic novel’s wording as I did with the film when it echoed the same words from Rorschach’s journal.
It’s very graphic. It’s more, silly to think, graphic than the novel itself. The fight scene with Silk Spectre II and Nite Owl was brutal in the comic but even more so on film. Rorschach killing the kidnapper in the comic book was off screen, on screen it’s splattering. In the comic you see Dr. Manhattan’s penis. In the film you see it and it’s noticeable even if you’re not looking. Blue is a great color to obscure the nudity for a moment, but the enormity of the issue cannot go unnoticed for long.
I think that one would have a deeper appreciation for The Watchmen if they read the book prior to seeing the film. It is not necessary because I believe the film holds the general idea of what the story wanted to share. However, it’s like a meatier Cliff Notes version, while the actual graphic novel dives deeper into the story and your conscious thought and makes you wrestle with what you believe is right and wrong.
The Watchmen was good film. I don’t understand people’s apprehension about it or why they have to pan it so brutally, especially those that read the book, but whatever reason they have a problem with it I will state that its’ one of the better films I’ve seen in a while. Even though this is March and most of what has come out prior has been poo it is still saying a lot, because this movie can stand on its own without the help of the graphic novel.
If you want to see a film (and don’t mind length and believe size doesn’t matter) that will take you on a moral roller coaster of borderline right and wrong thinking then The Watchmen is the film that will entice you. If you read the graphic novel and are still iffy on it I suggest you see it but see it for a cheaper price like matinee or something so you don’t get all pissy at me. It’s close to the novel. Minor changes, but it’s close enough that they use word for word from the graphic novel. I’d say 98% of the dialog came from the book. The Watchmen may be cynical and full of grump, but it’s entertaining and thought provoking and everything a good movie should be and want to be.