Who Watches the Watchmen?

This review is spoiler-free.

We all do. Before 2008, I had never heard of Watchmen, ever. This year, all I'm reading about is how the graphic novels were one of the greatest in history. From all the buzz surrounding the movie, I also got that the original novels written by Alan Moore had such intricacy and depth in the plot that it could and should never be translated onto the silver screen. 23 years after the first issue of Watchmen was published, Zack Snyder defied that. You know what, thank god he did. Bear in mind, I have not read the novels (but I want to so bad now), so this review will be written solely based on the quality of the movie and no comparison will be drawn to the novels, which in my opinion, completely spoils a movie review.

Watchmen is set in an alternate 80's America with the murder of The Comedian aka Edward Morgan Blake who was part of the defunct vigilante group aptly named the Watchmen. The group is defunct because of the Keene Act, passed in 1977 that outlawed all vigilante activities. Rorschach, one of The Comedians old colleagues, continues on his vigilante duties, sweeping the streets of criminals and throwing them in prison. When he learns of Blake's murder, Rorschach theorizes that the Watchmen are being hunted down and is determined to uncover the plot that turns out to be of global proportions.

Watchmen. Aaaah. Where to start? From the beginning, literally. God forbid, if you were to miss any part of this movie, do not, under any circumstances, miss the opening 15 to 20 minutes of the movie. To put it simply, it blew my mind right to the back of the theater. Right away you could see traces of Snyder's work, bringing back memories of the ever so awesome 300. Although filled with many similar aspects, Watchmen and 300 could not be more different. 300 very clearly was about 300 Spartans that were incredibly alike in character and physicality (packs, 8 of them), uniting in one voice, sacrificing their lives for their country (with style, might I add). Watchmen, on the other hand, had more than one definitive character that took charge of your mind and imagination while on screen. It was like a bunch of different personalities with vastly opposing backgrounds and history being meshed together to great cinematic effect.

Snyder did such a bang up job in seamlessly integrating the individual stories of each character with the main narrative storyline. 90% of the people who have talked to me about the film have told me they thought it was dreary and draggy with too much talk and too little action. Firstly, whats wrong with that? If the talk is great, there is less need of great action scenes. Which was the case in this movie. The story was so compelling and exhilarating at the same time. Which brings me to my second point, the movie was so incredibly far from being dreary and draggy. All I can remember from the film was high octane action from start to end. Maybe that's what I saw in the film or maybe I was so sucked in, I was really feeling it. This film, as I've read, is deemed as a 'Love it or Hate it' kind of film. I totally loved it and I think the only way people can love it is if they really get drawn into the story and feel it. Then they'll start to see that every scene is packed with action.

Even if one hates the film, one has to be in admiration of the out-of-this-world effects that only complimented the amazingly adapted script. Everything that needed to be visually enhanced completely fulfilled my expectations, and then some. The mixture of the swift fight scenes and the brutal, gory scenes were done magnificently well and to good taste. I am so grateful that this was done as an R-rated film. A PG-13 rating would be so condescending to the storyline and would have done it no justice.

Along with amazing visual effects came a somewhat baffling selection of songs played in the background. Instead of scratching my head in bemusement, I was nodding in appreciation of the absolute genius incorporation of the songs in specific scenes. The music was so significant I actually realized that music was playing in the background and sometimes found myself pulling back from the movie, indulging myself in the music (in fact I'm listening to the soundtrack as I'm writing this). Seriously speaking, the music played a huge part in making the cinematic experience of this film so spectacular.

The one and only part of the movie that could have been done better was the acting by Malin Ackerman in her portrayal of Silk Spectre II aka Laurie Jupiter. Her performance in my eyes was not up to par with the rest of the cast with standout performances from Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian and of course, Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovas aka Rorschach. Overall, the acting in the film was close to flawless, Ackerman being the only letdown for me.

I have something to say that may make me quite a bit less popular. I'll go on record and say I sincerely feel that Watchmen is on par, if not better than last summer's The Dark Knight. There I said it. So shoot me. The Dark Knight was all about The Joker and Heath Ledger. Without him, the film would not have gone close to breaking the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box-office like it did. I'm not saying Watchmen will have similar success. I'm just saying I appreciated it better than last year's Batman. And I am very saddened that Watchmen will get less recognition and appreciation than it deserves. Having said that, I wouldn't ever trade worldwide acclamation for one of the best visual, perceptual and even spiritual movie experiences of my life.

After all that's been said, only one person should deserve the appreciation and credit for this insane adaptive masterpiece. Quoting The Comedian, "The Superman exists, and he's American". He's Zack Snyder.

8.5 out of 10 popcorns

2 comment/s:

Anonymous said...

Having not read the graphic novel as well, I agree that the movie was great. I read some reviews before seeing it to get a better handle of the movie. I want to read the graphic novel as well now since we both apparently missed out on a lot of back stories and plots.

Pison The Great said...

I just couldn't agree more! :D

This particular movie is just awesome awesome awesome!

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