Zach Davis

Directed By: Zack Snyder

Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson

I have to start by addressing the end of Watchmen as it takes a huge left turn from the end of the graphic novel.  To many, this was considered heresy, but I think it did the film justice more so than sticking with the original material would have.  Without spoiling the movie, the ending chosen by director Zack Snyder and screenwriters David Hayter and Alex Tse works better with the characters and the relationships that have been developed throughout the film.  While the original ending has its merit and place, I don’t think that place is in this particular film.  My only major critique of the ending is that the acting seems to break down at the end.  It gets pretty cheesy, even for a comic book movie.

Watchmen is set in a 1980s very different from the one we know.  The restriction on two-term limit for a president has been reversed, and Nixon has extended his stay in the White House.  Crime and disarray have increased exponentially now that masked vigilantes known as the watchmen no longer patrol the streets.  Originally, there were many watchmen including the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the original Silk Spectre Sally Jupiter (Carla Gugino).   Sometime later a second group took the reins behind Ozymandias (Matthew Goode).  This group included the Comedian, the second Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), the second Silk Spectre Laurie Jupiter (Malin Akerman), Rorschach (Jakie Earle Haley), and Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup).  Manhattan was the most powerful of the group as he became a being that could control the particles around him, including seeing his own past and future at one time thanks to an accident.

After devastating the Vietnamese in the Vietnam War and working crowd control on rising masses back home, the government banned masked heroes, and the watchmen were no more.  Dr. Manhattan now works as a scientist for the US government.  Laurie Jupiter is romantically involved with him.  Nite Owl leads a quiet life.  Ozymandius makes his identity known and becomes an executive at a large company.  Going against the grain, Rorschach never gives up the mask and operates outside the law to continue the vigilante lifestyle.  Rorschach's life as a vigilante is where the plot picks up.  The film starts with the Comedian being murdered, sparking Rorschach into an investigation.  He believes that someone is hunting down and killing all the former masked heroes.  Sharing his concerns with Nite Owl, the old gang all get notified of his suspicions.  Things get stranger though when Dr. Manhattan becomes unable to see into the future, bringing a cloud of uncertainty upon them all.  Meanwhile, tensions between Russia and the United States mount as nuclear war knocks on the world’s doorsteps.

The acting in Watchmen is on par for what it is.  The material leaves nothing to really blow anyone away, but that’s what you get with a comic book movie.  They’re campy.  My one shout out has to got to be Jeffrey Dean Morgan as he portrays the Comedian exactly as I had envisioned from reading the graphic novel.  There are a few scenes where Patrick Wilson goes over the top, particularly his scream at the end, but that’s nothing new for Wilson.  Jackie Earle Haley does a good job as the mentally disturbed Rorschach, creating a character that is truly detached from humanity yet very keen to the evils that are rising in the world around him.

There isn’t much for the female characters in this piece.  Malin Akerman does well, but her character seems confused; she's not well grounded.  The relationship between the Comedian and her mother creates much of the drama for her character.  It also leads to a disturbing scene with the Comedian and fuels a clash inside the ranks of the watchmen.

The special effects do not detract at all from Watchmen.  The effects help to bring the world created in the source material to life.  It's most evident when the watchmen are at the South Pole and when Dr. Manhattan takes Laurie to Mars.  The effects in these scenes are quite impressive.

I would have given this film a 0.03% rating, but it’s just too long.  To get through the campy comic book style and the length of this feature, grab a couple beers.  This should do the trick.  Watchmen gets a 0.06% rating.