I really didn’t know much about Watchmen before I rented it. I saw one preview earlier this year and read a couple reviews by disappointed fans of the original comic book series that was later released in graphic novel form. The funny thing was that my wife seemed more excited to see it than I was. I decided to wait for DVD and we ended up watching it last night. My first impression was that it was a dark look at superheroes reminiscent of the original Blade Runner. There were a lot of night scenes that were dark and rainy. The movie opens with narrator, Rorschach (named for his ever-changing ink blot mask), investigating the murder of Edward Blake.
When Rorschach discovers Blake was really The Comedian, a superhero employed by the US Government, he suspects a plot to murder other retired superheroes. Rorschach takes it upon himself to warn the rest of The Comedian’s old team. The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan were the only two not forced into retirement after a Keene Act was passed in 1977 to ban all superheroes. Dr. Manhattan and Adrian Veidt (the once active Ozymandias) are working to solve the world’s energy crisis. Adrian believes that once solved, this will remove much of the motivation for conflict, and help to ensure world peace.
While the murder seems to be the main plot of the movie, I had the feeling that the love triangle between Dr. Manhattan, The Silk Spectre II, and The Night Owl II might have been the focus of the comic book series. I won’t know for sure until I track down a copy and read it for myself. The pace of the movie felt very jumpy, but overall it didn’t feel like it was really 2hrs and 43 minutes. It did seem like there were some obvious gaps though. I just looked up on IMDB, and it looks like the Director’s Cut is 3hrs and the Ultimate Cut is over 3.5hrs long! I’ll wait and see once I read the comic to see if I’m interested in the extended versions.
While there was a good share of fight scenes, I would classify this movie as a drama more than an action flick. There were a couple humorous moments, but on average this was a rather serious film with many scenes that are not for the fain of heart. There was quite a bit of gore and violence, along with a small amount of on-screen sex. This was definitely not a movie for kids. While obviously targeting adults, some of the philosophical discussions felt forced and out of place. The ending seemed to drag a bit, and I said to myself, “yes, I get the point, move on already”. Overall it was a decent movie, and for a star rating I would say 3 out of 5.