From the moment I sat down in the theater and overheard a girl asking her friend, “I heard Watchmen about retired superheroes like The Incredibles,” I knew that reviews for this movie would be severely polarized. On one end, there will be the fan boys and girls that have read and fallen in love with the comic and those who only showed up to appease their boyfriends or to check out what all the hype, or should I say over hype, is all about. As of this moment, Rottentomatoes.com rates Watchmen at low 65%.
While I do not fall under the category of “fan boy” because I only finished reading the Watchmen over the summer, I still fell madly in love with the comic book. It changed my perspective on what a comic (or graphic novel) could do to capture the imagination as Maus I and Maus II did for me. It relegitimized the comic as an art form and a different and relevant narrative form, mesmerizing its readers with a feast of visual stimuli.
For those who read the comic before, you will enjoy this movie and even perhaps fall in love with it. Director Zach Snyder did a very good job staying faithful to each frame in the comic. There are details in the movie that were captured very well and perhaps even outdid the illustrations of Dave Gibbons to shame such as the scene where Rorschach is arrested at last. I agree with Veronica Belmont that the sex scene inside Archie on the other hand was exaggerated, strained, and overplayed in the movie.
While the movie certainly did not paint a permanent smile on my face as Slumdog Millionaire did, I did leave the theater with a greater appreciation for the comic. The characters in Watchmen are so rich and so compelling because they chill me to the core that I can not help but turn the page. The characters in the movie were extremely well casted, especially Rorshach, played by Jackie Earle Haley who manages to capture the Rorshach’s twisted, overly logical way of thinking. Watchmen is definitely a movie that you will have to see several times to appreciate the ammount of detail that went into planning each frame. It is a slow burn.
For those who have not read the comic, please do not watch Watchmen until you read this masterpiece. The film acts as a supplement to one of the most amazing stories ever written. Please check your coats and preconceived notions at the door but hold on to your brain as you will need its full power to enjoy and appreciate the movie.