Mar 10, 2009

I've Watched The Watchmen


I’ve Watched The Watchmen

This ain’t ya grandma’s superhero movie!



I’ll first address the frequently referenced complaints I see skewed across the internet to make it clear which side of the argument I’m on.


Common Complaint #1) It was too close to the source.

My Argument: I understand that some things just won’t transfer well from one media outlet to another, which is often what “ruins” movies based on novels for those who read the story first – the scene visually displayed didn’t match up with the one you imagined in your head. However this was a comic book – the visuals were already in place. Yes, a couple of scenes were changed and a few plot points were altered to accommodate run-times and its own necessary R Rating, however when you’re given gold – the best selling comic book of all time, you’d have to be an idiot to sit down and decide to write your own script with the predesigned and famous characters.


Common Complaint #2) It was unnecessarily graphic.

My Argument: Do your research on a movie before you go in. You don’t have to have even read the comic book to understand what “R” means. When you watch a trailer, or look up the reasoning for a movie’s rating, which can easily be found out on MPAA – Motion Picture Association of America (that decides the ratings for movies)’s website, you can find out why a movie has a rating. How anyone could see a superhero movie, which is really just a mask worn over the genre of this movie for common, everyday, morally flawed characters who hide in costumes and alter-egos in a comic book, see “Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language” and decide to bring their kids deserve to waste their movie ticket money and storm out un-refunded. Sin City was also a comic book, as was 300. Just because people wear masks doesn’t make them righteous. Yes, there’s sex. Yes, there’s blood and graphic violence. You can’t willingly buy and eat a chocolate frosted donut and complain because there’s chocolate on it.


Common Complaint #2.5) Too much male nudity.

My Argument: With the evolution of culture comes the eradication of taboo’s. We’ll all find something to cringe about in the future I’m sure, but I’m of the opinion that there are two things to learn to deal with seeing in cinema. The first is homosexuality, and the second is male nudity. There’s likely going to be a lot of it in the future, and I’m going to let you in on the down low – it’s okay to be uncomfortable with it, but consider it a growing pain. “Like a monkey, ready to be shot into space. Space monkey! Ready to sacrifice himself for the greater good.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club. The nudity of Dr. Manhattan often complained about is a plot point, not a random rib at the viewer’s expense. It’s to demonstrate his detachment from Earth and their customs.





The Premise:

Unlike movies like Spider-Man, you don’t watch the characters develop their superpowers, alter-egos and change the world around them being one of a kind. In this reality, it’s 1985, the height of the Cold War between the great USA and Soviet Russia, (where car drives you) and superheroes and super villains have been around for at least 45 years. Another step toward Sin City and away from The Fantastic Four – super powers are hard to find. The men and women under masks are just talented, such as very agile, or very skilled in martial arts, maybe with a technological equipment piece to help them in their crime solving or crime busting. But the only person who has any remote powers is Dr. Manhattan, who’s acknowledged as a big freaking deal because he has powers.


Roughly fifteen years or so earlier, The Keene Act was passed, forcing all vigilantes to retire, unless they work directly under the government, such as Dr. Manhattan. In present day, Rorschach, the last remaining superhero, though with methods so sinister he’s more of an anti-hero, discovers that a former teammate of his – The Comedian has been murdered. Rorschach must warn the rest of his teammates before they’re picked off one by one, and whatever sinister plot that could occur (possibly by the Russians) can go off without a hitch.



The Standouts:

An absolutely brilliant movie all around. It’s possibly the first artsy comic book movie, and it came out flawlessly. The cinematography (although director Zack Snyder’s pension for the slow-down fight scenes noted from 300 can stick out like a sore trademarked thumb) is unparallel with anything I’ve seen in a long time. The Dark Knight was great, but this movie is romanticism to TDK’s modern BOOM-BOOM-BOOM art. Watchmen focuses on a lot more subtly and dialogue, but when there’s something racy to deserve it’s R rating, it pushes the envelope as hard as it can. Why? Because that’s life. Unfiltered. When out on DVD and Blu-Ray, rumor has it the director’s cut will push the film’s runtime past three hours, and I’m expecting even less censorship.


The acting is brilliant. Rorschach/(Jackie Earle Haley)’s level of scariness can only be equal to that of the impending nuclear war set to break out. The inner demons of his character is perfectly played out by his facial expressions when unmasked, or lack there of, and every scene with him is worth watching. Everything Rorschach says is quotable and he raises the question inside of you – is he the villain I hate to love or the hero I love to hate. But then, The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) plays on similar heartstrings that some confuse as being the same. The Comedian is thought to be a hero in the opening of the movie for his association with “the good guys” but is by far the worst, most vile person in the film. He’s not the villain, as he’s killed off quickly, but don’t confuse things. He’s not really an anti-hero, or a hero of any kind. He’s just a piece of dirt that happens to be enrolled under the ranks of the good guys. Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) was a dry character in the comic book – nerdiness wrapped in doubt, but through the sheer magnitude of Patrick Wilson, he evolves before your eyes. He’s not a loser; sure he’s shy and nerdy, but he’s actually just a normal guy with a hidden heroic side that we all like to think we have in us. He’s the role model you become inspired to become.


The ending is inspiring for anyone with imagination. It ties everything together, it’s realistic, and it’s highly original. Some will leave angry, some will leave feeling complete, but it is without a doubt powerful enough to make you feel, which is what any movie dreams to accomplish. I love me some Will Ferrell and Jason Statham, but this isn’t mindless action, silly comedy, or hopeless love. It’s artsy, it’s emotion provoking, and probably the Slumdog Millionaire (which I haven’t seen but am comparing off of reputation) of its genre.



My Highlight:

Prison. I’ll leave it at that. From start to end, it’s just “My, Gawd!” I’ve also become a bigger fan of the credits every time I watch them.







Should the opening credits video above not work, here are some links to other sites hosting it:



Overall Rating:

5*’s out of 5. I was originally going to rate it lower, I’m not going to lie, because I was one of the people not happy about the ending, the excessive sex, or the male nudity, but I always found myself on the defending side of the argument on those cases. I convinced myself, or really just pulled the wool off my own eyes, revealing my love for the film. The further I distance myself from the viewing however, I have nothing but positives to say about it. I’m greatly considering going back and re-watching it, which I have only done for The Dark Knight and Iron Man in my entire lifetime.



When You Should See It:

Now. You have, maybe, a month or so. Maybe a month in a half, before it leaves theaters. I’m definitely buying it as soon as it comes out on DVD, but when stretched across the big screen in front of you, it holds so much raw, gritty power. It’s the experience that you shouldn’t miss out on.

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