I have started writing this review three different times since seeing the film on Monday. I do not want to sound like every other comic book geek out there and start railing away about the differences in the comic and the movie. I expected this to happen. I will probably have a spoiler or two in here somewhere.
People kept trying to say that Snyder would be able to do with Watchmen what he did with 300. I am sorry, but that could not happen. 300 is like 50 pages long. Watchmen is like 2000000 pages long.
As I usually say before reviewing a comic book movie, I am not the type of person who goes in expecting it to be exactly like the comic. I hope that they can get the essence of the character and story right, and whatever needs to be changed, should benefit the story.
With that being said, the next question should be: what did I think of the movie? I really enjoyed it. I cannot wait to watch it a few more times. However, did it blow my mind? No. Did I leave the theater and think to myself: “wow, that was the greatest movie of all time.” No.
Major complaints I had about the movie really falls into the acting category. I think Billy Crudup is an awesome actor, but he did not pull Dr. Manhattan off. This being is all powerful, his voice needs to command a little more power behind it.
Matthew Goode, who was decent in other movies I have seen, was absolutely terrible as Ozymandias. He seemed too detached, whereas you would expect a guy who is about to kill millions of people to be a bit more passionate about his project. Also, the movie itself did a bad job of selling to us that Ozy was a really good guy. In the comic, when you learn he is the bad guy, it is a pretty big reveal. In the movie, it seemed pretty obvious.
On a positive note, Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) was amazing. He carried every scene, I only wish they could have done more interviews with the shrink. That was always one of my favorite things in the book, how the shrink starts to see the way Rorschach sees. Oh well.
Another thing that bothered me was the fact that the fight scenes were identical to 300. The slow motion thing is really cool, but Snyder is becoming a one trick pony.
The opening scene though, with the Comedian getting beat, then tossed out a window, may have been the best opening scene ever. This was one of those things about the comic that I never understood how they would make into the movie. Flashbacks, done in red, pretty much every other panel. Snyder reinvented that perfectly.
There were plenty of little things that were directly from the comic, which was definitely cool. I can understand why people who did not read the book, were a little lost though. Maybe this will cause people to rush out and buy the book…
Here is a little test though, if you want to watch a comic book person struggle. Ask them to tell you what Watchmen is about. I bet they give you a whole bunch of buzzwords, like “deconstruction, realistic approach, political commentary…” And yes, all those words (and plenty of others) describe the book. But, ask them to just outline the story for you. Go ahead, those of you who have read it, try it. Now, ask yourself, does that sound like a very good story? The reason that Watchmen is considered one of the greatest comics of all time, is the amazing job that Moore and Gibbons did…obviously.
Anyways, let me know what you thought about it.
Comic Book Movie Grade: A-