Summary: In an alternate version of 1985 where Nixon is still president and masked heroes are both real and outlawed, one hero who still wears a mask tries to solve a murder of another hero, which leads him to uncover a conspiracy that points to a surprising conclusion…
Let me start out by admitting that I’ve never read the Watchmen graphic novel. When I saw the first trailer, it sparked my interest, but I didn’t want to be tied down to “well, it was good, but the _____ was so much better” (which was my reasoning behind not reading Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, which I later did and ruined further enjoyment of the movies).
What I had gleaned from the trailers I saw was that there was one hero who actually had powers, and others were inspired by him to fight crime alongside him. Something terrible happened and they were all forced to retire until one by one they were being murdered. Meanwhile, the population finds out they do need heroes, but when they call for them the former heroes refuse to help.
What I found was a Cold War movie where the only thing stopping the Soviets from nuking America is not America’s vast nuclear arsenal, but a glowing blue man/god who found he doesn’t much care for humanity anymore, and gives long speeches on the subject.
Which is part of my problem with the movie: no one cares. Nixon, Dr. Manhattan (the glowing man/god, who spends a vast majority of the movie computer generated and completely naked), Rorshach (the original definition of “anti-hero”, who gives the quote about refusing to help), even the more likable heroes don’t seem to care about what is going on around them, even when the big twist at the end comes between several of their friends. And if the characters don’t care, how can we be expected to?
As an adaptation of a graphic novel, it was extremely graphic (pun intended). Broken bones, stabbings, head cleaving, face melting, an extended soft-core sex scene with a topless female, and every scene with Dr. Manhatten where its not a flasback or he’s doing an interview have full view of his bright blue computer generated… manhood. I did not care for it.
I’ll admit, there were several sequences I did like. I really liked most of the flashbacks to before being a masked hero was illegal. I liked the main Vietnam sequence, and most of the present day detective sequences with Rorshach.
But in the end, I have to say that I was extremely disappointed. It didn’t help that the movie is over two and a half hours long, and we went to a late showing (that didn’t have the new Star Trek trailer, which started me out in a bad mood). Also, the film melted about halfway through it, so we had to sit there while they trimmed the melted section out (melting a film on opening day? Good job, Bedford Great Escape).
Sorry this review is so disjointed. Part of it is me trying to avoid spoiling the movie. Part of it is that the movie itself is so disjointed. I think I might die if I had to watch the three hour and ten minute Director’s Cut.
Overall: Maybe the Watchmen don’t need to be watched?