Watchmen:Rated “R” (163 Minutes)
Starring:Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Whether you were one of the folks who have waited for the release of the Watchmen film for the 20+ years since the DC Comicbook was initially in print, or you are going into the film with no understanding of who these characters are, where they came from, or even what the fuss was all about you are in for a treat. This is a very slick rendition of a funnybook series produced in a medium long thought of as kiddie fare.
To be sure, odds are that even if you have some understanding what this film is about, because you read the comic sometime over the past 20 years, you still might not be able to appreciate its full impact. For, unless you actually read it when it first came out back in 1986, you can’t possibly appreciate why the production of it as a comicbook was (and still is) considered to be a watershed event.
Watchmenis the very human story of a group of thoroughly dysfunctional group of people who acquired powers far beyond those of mortal men, put on leather and spandex, but — for whatever reason — had no moral credo, no “with great power…” mantra, by which they chose to live. In fact, these folks are heroes in name only. They are, for the most part, complete reprobates, morally bankrupt, emotionally immature, and (in the case of Rorschach) mentally unhinged.
No, kids, these are so not your father’s superheroes. There is no noble good in them, and yes while they do fight people who are ostensibly criminals, they themselves have no moral center. They are vain, petty, squabbling, opportunists who are mostly in this for their own glorification. Even the best of them are only half a step off from being thugs and fascists themselves. They are brutal, vicious, and irresponsible. These are not so much heroes, as they are Vic Mackie’s Strike Team in spandex on a 24/7 adrenalin rush.
Sure, many folks will look at them and see Batman and Captain America and their brethren gone terribly, terribly wrong, but that is only the surface, the psychosis that is Watchmen goes far deeper than that. Yeah, we’ve seen bright and gaudy superheroes on screen, all shiny in their full metal jackets, and we’ve seen dark and brooding ones as well, but these folk, these are the guys and gals that allowed us to be able to get past our “all in color for a dime” roots, and grow up to become adults.
The Watchmen are the illegitimate godparents of Heroes, Push, and yes, even the Dark Knight himself. If it wasn’t for the publication of this comic 25 years ago, so much of what we see in comicbooks (and comicbook movies) would not have been possible. Still, as for the film itself. It mirrors precisely my recollection of the comic itself. Yea, they left some stuff out (even tipping in at close to three hours), but all of the high points were hit, and this film is as close to what appeared in the comicbook that you are ever likely to get (and with the release of the DVD & Blu-Ray, even more of that material is now available).
I truly enjoyed the film and urge anyone who has read the comic to go out to see it. Oh hell, go to see the film even if you didn’t read the comic. Then go out buy the comic, and read it anyway.