Watchmen

Year: 2009

Synopsis: In an alternate 1985, after the murder of long time vigilante turned government assassin, current and former vigilantes look back on their sometimes difficult lives, and soon uncover threats to the world they may not want to understand.

Pros:
• An overall strong, character driven drama, with all the actors at the top of their game.
• Duplicated the graphic novel’s miracle of making technically unknown and often unlikable characters worthy of great sympathy. In their own ways, they were all heroes in spite of how messed up they knew they were.
• Visually engrossing, in spite of the literally dark story.
• Impressively duplicated the graphic novel’s overall aesthetics.
• To be Dr. Manhattan for a moment: the antagonist won thirty minutes ago.
• The extended cuts of the film better captured the dark yet pragmatic heart of the original story.

Cons:
• Even though the slow, deliberate pacing stems from the source material, it was very slow, and not for those looking for that “traditional” action-oriented superhero film.
• The theatrical version removed much of the intricate depth of the story.
• The changes and omissions — ironic via the at times obsessive devotion to the source material — took away from the ironies of the story itself.
• The removal of the stranger, more elaborate, and rather lovecraftian elements of the climax might be seen as a cop-out to fans of the original story.

Discussion:
Watchmen was one big joke, a direct attack on the neutering of comic books into the 1980s. The stories arguably lost realism in their lack of darkness. There is most certainly an element of insanity to dress up in costume to fight crime, perhaps leading to a madness not dissimilar to those the heroes battled. No one is “normal” in these stories, and Watchmen showed us what that really meant, especially if the heroes improbably outlived their own worst adversaries. Well, at least in the extended versions of the film, we were able to see that story enough, helping to pave the way for the at times darkly emotional depths we were ultimately given in the MCU, which started just before this film was released. All quite hilarious, in a rather ironic way 🙂


Rotten Tomatoes — 64%

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