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Watchmen Review

March 30, 2009

I had a chance to see Watchmen before opening day, but ultimately had to pass it up because I wasn’t finished reading the graphic novel yet. By the time I was done reading the GN, I’d heard enough mixed feedback that I was no longer in a rush to see the theatrical version and finally got around to doing so last week. Before I get into my thoughts on the film, I just want to say that the graphic novel blew me away. I thought the story was amazing and the writing was phenomenal overall. However, I wasn’t really sold on how well it would translate to the big screen and the mediocre acting in the trailers had tempered my expectations for the film.

I can’t really complain about the adaptation. The screenwriters did a very good job of staying faithful to Alan Moore’s graphic novel, with the sole exception of the climax being drastically different, although the significance of this change has been exaggerated; I think the thematic issues and ultimate goal of the graphic novel remain intact. The problem I did have with Watchmen was that a year after The Dark Knight believably brought Batman and The Joker into our world, Watchmen still comes across hokey despite all of its heroes being normal human beings (with the exception of Dr. Manhattan). With the exception of Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan, the characters in the film are all one-dimensional and boring. Despite massive amounts of background story, you still don’t have much of an emotional investment in anyone. It’s also bad timing to ask someone to play Richard Nixon just months after Frank Langella gave an Oscar-nominated performance of the man in Frost/Nixon. The acting, in general, was poor at best from just about everyone in the cast. Kudos to Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan) and Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach) for not making me cringe every time they were on screen.

By far my favorite thing about the film was the character of Rorschach (I used the Silk Spectre poster because, well… she’s hotter). He was my favorite character in the graphic novel as well, but his awesomeness is even more apparent in the film version, simply because all the other characters are lamer in the movie. He’s cold and heartless. He’s Batman without the moral code. He’s a bad ass. He keeps a journal. And he’ll fucking kill you. It’s kind of refreshing to see a completely ruthless hero in a time when our heroes are scared to get their noses dirty. The only thing that disappointed me about Rorschach was that the film didn’t make it obvious that he was the homeless-looking dude walking around town with the “End Is Nigh” sign. Oh, that and the fact that his mask moving around was specific to the film and kind of distracting.

I definitely wasn’t blown away by Watchmen by any means. The acting is really subpar and the story just didn’t translate amazingly well. It’s definitely worth watching though for the visual effects and Rorschach, but I wouldn’t rank it with the better comic book adaptations of all-time. It’s simply mediocre, if not mildly disappointing.

Score: 5.5 out of 10

One comment

  1. Ouch, 5.5 out of 10, I gave it a 4.9 out of 5, lol.End of line.



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