FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: “Watchmen” stars Malin Akerman (The Proposal, The Heartbreak Kid), Billy Crudup (Big Fish, Almost Famous), Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, A Single Man), Jackie Earle Haley (RoboCop , Dark Shadows ), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Losers, The Possession), Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring, Insidious), Carla Gugino (Night at the Museum, San Andreas), Matt Frewer (Max Headroom [TV movie], Honey I Shrunk the Kids), Stephen McHattie (300, A History of Violence), Laura Mennell (Alphas [TV series], Haven [TV series]), and Rob LaBelle (The Man in the High Castle [TV series], Motive [TV series]). It is directed by Zack Snyder (300, Man of Steel), while the screenplay is written by David Hayter (X-Men , The Scorpion King) and Alex Tse (Sucker Free City [TV movie], Tales of the Black Freighter [Video short]). Based on a graphic novel of the same name, “Watchmen” follows a group of retired superheroes living in 1985 during the Cold War. When one of their own is murdered, it sends member Rorschach (Haley) on an investigation into an unknown man seeking to kill off all of their gang. What he finds may pull the team back together in order to stop a threat bigger than they could’ve imagined.
You know, I’ve had the “Watchmen” director’s cut blu-ray sitting on my shelf for over a year now; before I even reviewed another Snyder film, “Batman v. Superman.” Why the long wait? Primarily the runtime on this thing. I’m not opposed to three hour movies, but they certainly need more scheduling in my day than the average flick. Why this film is mainly available in director’s or ultimate edition, I don’t know. I like to review movies as they were in the theater, not in another state, concocted “the way it should’ve been.” Anyway, I finally sat down to watch it, and I was impressed. As of late, Snyder hasn’t been regarded as one of my favorite directors. His track record with the DCEU movies hasn’t been so well, with me really only enjoying his take on “300.” It seems as though Snyder strikes the iron hot with standalone comic releases, in which he follows the source material closely and creates something epic. He did it with “300” and subsequently “Watchmen.” I’ve never read the graphic novel, though some of my friends and family have, saying that the movie follows the book better than most book-to-film features. The story looked interesting, being set in 1985 where the Cold War is stronger than ever, Nixon is running for a fifth term, and superheroes were once a real thing. All of which played to some really good songs, ranging from Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence,” I might add. Taking from a singular, big graphic novel, this release tried to cover all the bases, and in doing so crafted a long runtime. Though the plot is straightforward, there is a lot to take in. Flashbacks run rampant and several characters are given focus all in order to flesh out the plot. I enjoyed it, considering my love for character development and stories that take their time. Sure, there were a few dull moments, but barely enough to count on one hand. The investigation on Rorchach’s end was engaging and the cinematography was utterly awesome. It’s Snyder fashion, and we all know what that involves: dark tones, rain, and fight scenes involving slow-motion. However, it works greatly in this. The opening scene alone was enough to draw me in, with its messy but good fight sequence between the Comedian (Morgan) and a masked man. It set the stage greatly, and what followed was just as interesting. Everything is about the characters and the world around them; that’s what the story focuses on. Some may find this approach to be boring, but I found it to be thrilling. Each character was good in their own respects, none of which seemed bothersome or annoying to me as a viewer. The acting that coincided with them was also great, as Snyder got the likes of many well-known actors to play part in this. Really, what you need to know when considering this picture is how aesthetically pleasing it is, from cinematography to performances. It’s professionally made and a beautiful sight to behold even though it depicts a dark world. Heroes are considered vigilantes and must, as “The Incredibles” puts it, “make their secret identity their only identity.” There’s history amongst this ragtag group of heroes and the ones they succeeded, and it’s all interesting to watch. It really grounds the hero aspect; even though they wear costumes, they don’t really show powers (well, except Dr. Manhattan [Crudup]). All they do is pack a good punch and have wicked fighting skills. They do what the police don’t, and that’s what makes things engaging, separate from their upbringing. By its end, the story sets up a theme that is intriguing. You can tell the original writer tried to make a statement, and the concept of it all was really interesting. I won’t go into detail for those who haven’t seen it, but it makes for a sadistic conclusion. As a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this featured. I was worried that it may be another action hero romp like Marvel movies (which I’ve progressively grown tired of), but it has its own flair and style to flock towards. On top of that, the story is wickedly good so that’s always hard to pass up. It isn’t as epic as Snyder’s “300,” but it leaves a good impression. Aside from certain exposition and revelations that were clearly predictable, there isn’t too much bad to say about it. If you are into comic books, check this one out! FINAL SCORE: 93%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: