Who Watches The Watchmen? I Did — and Here’s a Spoiler-Free Review

Geek Culture

Cover of "Watchmen"Cover of "Watchmen"

Cover of Watchmen

After months of waiting, coupled with fright over delay caused by lawsuits, the opening of the highly anticipated film adaptation of Watchmen is finally here. And what’s a comic book geek to do on a day like today except play hooky from work and catch the first showing of the movie?

What was good about it?

I liked it – no – loved it. I loved it like Zack Snyder loves slow motion. I re-read the graphic novel last week to reacquaint myself with the story and I can happily report that the movie stayed nearly true (almost to the letter) to the comic books. At times, it seems like they didn’t bother using storyboards to plot the film, rather they just opened up the book and saw what Dave Gibbons drew for the scene. It’s a visual powerhouse, rich with attention to detail – I can’t wait for the DVD so I can catch everything I missed, frame-by-frame. And Jackie Earle Haley‘s portrayal of Rorschach was impressive, though not as impressive as how he played Walter Kovacs.

What was bad about it?

There’s so much material in the GN that the movie could have been twice as long. Some of the subplots were dropped and the movie suffered  for it. Other parts have changed too – and it may bothersome – but I thought, as a whole, the movie worked. Some of the casting was questionable, as the characters on the screen appeared to be much younger than their counterparts in print. Matthew Goode as Ozymandias appeared to be fresh out of high school, rather than a well-traveled man of the world.

Can I take my kids?

Absolutely not. If you’ve read the book, you’re probably already aware of the content, but it is very dark. There’s some very graphic violence, a brutal rape scene, language, nudity and the "adult situations" that come with it.

Should I go?

As other outlets have pointed out, geeks will love it. Casual film goers may not. And film reviews have followed that pattern. The people who saw the movie early – the people with an understanding of the comic book and what a work of art it is: Kevin Smith, Wil Wheaton, et al – they all loved it. And the movie critics who had to wait to see it within the last couple weeks, well, they either get it or they don’t. I’m really interested to see what my non-geek friends have to say about it. But if you’ve read the graphic novel – go. You won’t regret it.

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