Watchmen is a top selling graphic novel written way back in 1986-87 by the cult comic book creator Alan Moore, and its cult status has been legendary ever since. Now, even though I own a collection of over 1500 comics – yes I am a nerd and yes they are all nicely stored in plastic covers with cardboard backings and stacked in boxes – I had never read or really heard about the Watchmen novel. However, despite that, my expectations of the movie were as big as anyone else’s.
I was also kind of glad to watch the movie not knowing anything about the story which meant everything would be a surprise to me. And after all the hype, I’m glad to say the film was a pleasant surprise rather than a huge let down.
The movie follows the lives of costumed super-heroes, though only one of them has any real powers. The film is set in a somewhat different 1985 than the one you or I may remember, as these super-heroes first appeared on the scene at the end of World War 2. However, the slightly different historical setting already puts you on edge for a rather surreal experience.
The film begins with the murder, by a mysterious killer, of one of these costume heroes, The Comedian, and over the next 2 hours and 45 minutes the reason for this murder, and the deeper story, unfolds.
Why was this film said to be un-filmable? Well, to begin with, the first 10 minutes is one long montage with no dialogue, and the next hour or so is pretty much all character building with very little focus on the main story plot line.
Does that make it bad? Not at all! In fact I loved every minute of it and believe the long introduction was very necessary, but that’s just not how films are made today. I can, however, see why it’s taken so long for a studio to trust spending $150 million on a film based on this rather interesting graphic novel.
I’m not going to make my final 100% opinion of this film until after I’ve seen the 4 hour – that’s right, 4 hour – director’s cut version, which will be coming out on DVD later in the year, because I’m sure there will be another whole layer of information that I’ll need to fully digest.
After 2 hours 45 minutes I still felt that some info was lacking, but even so, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of characters, story and historical information that was laid on me throughout the movie.
Most of the negative issues I have with the movie I feel will be resolved after seeing the longer version, but the great bits will always be great no matter whether it’s the long or the short version I’m watching!
One of those great elements is the character Rorschach, who will go down in my books as one of the best film characters of all time. He was brilliant! From his physicality to his one-liners he was just amazing. There are many great parts to this film, too many to mention in this small review, but I hope this has been enough to stimulate your taste buds and I’ll let you make up your own mind on the film.
Finally, I need to put a warning out to everyone that this film really isn’t for the weak hearted. It is very graphically violent, has sex scenes and there is full frontal male nudity…though that person is a big blue guy so it’s not as graphic as you might expect in that aspect!
9.5 out of 10 from me!!!