Well, we did.
Based on the popular graphic novel by Alan Moore, Watchmen is an ultra-violent superhero thriller, directed by Zack Snyder. After being stuck in development hell since 1987, the film was finally released in 2009. The novel pictures an alternate timeline in which key events in history are radically different to our own. For example, the US winning the war in Vietnam directly because of assistance from two of the Watchmen. This causes Nixon to be re-elected, taking the US in a new direction entirely.
The film’s story focuses around a serial killer who is offing retired ‘Watchmen’ one by one. The plot is largely complex, with multiple plot-lines surrounding nuclear war, the re-emergence of heroes and sustainable energy. It’s extremely well written, and the atmosphere throughout is consistent – as if all the characters are holding their breath, like something terrible is looming. It’s use of nuclear war and politics ground the film in a genre so populated by family friendly superheroes like ‘The Avengers’. Our favourite character has to be ‘The Comedian’, he’s like a combination of Captain America and The Punisher… definitely not family friendly. His weapon of choice being a grenade launcher, and he’s not afraid to use it.
If heroes were real, Watchmen is most likely what that would look like. Largely, the film stays close to the source material. Some of the characters are also very reminiscent of popular heroes, Nite-Owl and Batman/Silk Spectre and Wonder Woman. However, they stay true to their own characters and don’t copy others too much. This includes the super-violence, it doesn’t shy away from showing characters brutally murder/disable villains. However, the film’s dedication to the novel does cripple it slightly, as it focuses a little too heavily on the politics and back-story of some of the main characters. With a run-time of 162 minutes, Watchmen runs a lot longer than your average superhero flick.
Storywise, it’s not particularly complex – there are just several plotlines to keep track of. It does bear Zack Snyder’s key flair of making the film look as if it’s jumped off of the page of the graphic novel. Whilst it’s run-time might be a little long – it’s certainly one of the best superhero adaptations of the past few years. Watchmen isn’t afraid to get down and dirty, but you might end up wondering when it’s going to end.
But still, go watch the Watchmen, and let us know what you think!