take nothing else from Watchmen, one thing is made crystal clear -
being a superhero is a miserable, soul-crushing drag.
on a cult-fave graphic novel, Watchmen is coming to the theaters with
high expectations from rabid fans as well as casual observers being promised
a huge new franchise.
to admit that I've never read the comic, therefore as a casual observer my
reaction was that Watchmen, while it is certainly stylistically
dazzling, visually intriguing and often interesting, is much too long
(the DVD Director's cut is over three hours!), more than occasionally too densely plotted and
From what I hear, it is
rather faithful to the source material, so I guess that it is exactly what
the fanboys wanted, however for the uninitiated it seems to be surprisingly
slow-moving and intensely pessimistic.
I can't imagine ever
watching this again, and while I liked several characters, I have no real
desire to see any of them in a potential sequel.
Watchmen takes place
in an odd alternate universe circa 1985, where Richard Nixon is in his fifth
term in office as President, superheroes helped us win the Vietnam War and
the US is on the verge of a nuclear confrontation with Russia. In many
ways the world is very different - there are flying saucers, film noir
lighting and a history of masked superheroes who have just been
In some other ways, the
universe is just the same as ours - such as architecture, automobiles and
music, where such time-specific songs as Nena's "99 Luftballons" and Leonard
Cohen's "Hallelujah" are used accurately, if a little heavyhandedly.
This world had once been
protected by a group of masked vigilantes - the Watchmen of the
title. These "superheroes" were decidedly earthbound - only one, the
glowing blue Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) has actual powers. The
others used costumes, fighting skills and tricky weapons to keep evil at
The kicker was that many of
these protectors were just as degenerate as the criminals they have fought.
For example, we see one of the superheroes violently raping another, we see
one shooting a pregnant woman, we see several taking brutal vigilante
justice on assorted bad guys.
Even the ones who were
basically good were doing it more for the celebrity than for any great sense
of justice. These crimefighters included the inscrutable masked
Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), the decadent Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan),
the quiet and shy Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), the sexy Silk Spectre
(originally Carla Gugino, then replaced by her character's daughter played
by Malin Akerman) and the brilliant Ozymandus (Matthew Goode).
Despite the fact that most
of the Watchmen have been retired for years, it appears someone is tracking
and killing them. Therefore the remaining heroes band together to
figure out who is targeting them - and at the same time save the world from
a potentially cataclysmic political fallout.
are many scenes of disturbing violence, there is really very little action
to the storyline. It is a more cerebral and philosophical experience
than an adrenaline-pumping action flick.
This in itself is not a
problem - I tend to prefer films which make me think over films which make
me react - but Watchmen spends so much time pondering the ulterior
motives of its "superheroes" and the bleakness of life that it often forgets
it is supposed to be telling a story.
I don't know exactly what I
expected from Watchmen after all the hype buildup. I just know
I expected more.
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: July 20, 2009.