WatchmenDirected by: Zack Snyder Cast: Billy Crudup, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson Running Time: 2 hrs 40 mins Rating: R
Plot: It's an alternative America, with President Nixon serving his third term, and the Russians on the brink of nuclear war with the United States. Now someone killed off an ex-superhero, which leads to a plan that could risk all of Earth.
Who’s It For? I have no clue if the rabid fan base will be satisfied, but superhero fans will get just enough of what they crave.
Expectations: So curious. I avoid previews for the most part. There's just no purpose in them for me, since my goal is maximum entertainment while sitting in the theater. Plus, I didn't read the graphic novel, so while I knew there was big buzz behind this film, it ended there.
Actors: Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan: I guess Crudup is the biggest name here, but what people will mainly be talking about is if this blue ... member ... is going to be a distraction for most. But it's the pre-superhero stuff as Jon, told in a long flashback, that Crudup nails. Dr. Manhattan can see his future, and also rearrange matter, so he's got that going for him. But he's also losing his humanity, so when mankind needs him, we don't know if he'll show. Score: 6
Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre II: Following in her mom's (Carla Gugino) footsteps, Laurie Jupiter joins the superhero clan as Silk Spectre II. This is the make or break role of the film, since the "present" plot is really on Akerman's shoulders. This is the classic example of someone looking the part, but just not being right. She can't pull off any emotional connection, and so far in her career, she's just a pretty face ... that can kick a little butt. Score: 3
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian: Sure, he's the actor who helped zap the fun out of "Grey's Anatomy," but he's got tons of charisma. Even as The Comedian, a man who kills children and beats women, he's fun to watch. That's tough to pull off. The downside is, his superhero name doesn't lead to many jokes, though other characters seem to love talking about the ultimate practical joke. Score: 7
Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach: I wasn't a fan of the ever-changing mask, and the odd detective voice-over took some warming up. After that, Rorschach is the big winner here. In fact, all I can think is that this should have been the whole movie. Rorschach trying to figure out who killed the superhero. Done. No blue man, no Nite Owl and no Silk. Score: 8
Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II: Unfortunately, because Akerman fails to do great work, Wilson suffers. He just becomes the nerd who has a crush on the lifeless hot girl. Score: 5
Talking: All of Richard Nixon's (Robert Wisden) talking should have been cut. And any time the villain spells out his master plan in the end it means the full screenplay failed to tell a cohesive story. What's amazing is, all of the back story really works. It's the present that fails. Score: 6
Sights: It's beautiful. The opening fight between The Comedian and our evil villain let's you know you'll be in good hands right from the beginning. The facial make-up for Nixon and Sally Jupiter looks way too rubbery and fake, but that's the only complaint. Snyder created a beautiful looking film. Score: 8
Sounds: I can't really wrap my head around the musical choices. I'm amazed at how effective the opening credits were with Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'"... But Leonard Cohen singing "Hallelujah" while a couple of characters join the mile-high club was just comical. Then you've got Simon and Garfunkel along with "99 Luftballoons." And yes, I know it's a cold war-era protest song, but it doesn't fit. Score: 7
Best Scene: Rorschach in prison. The film needed a good kick in the arse, and Rorschach was perfectly up to the task. Sure Nite Owl and Silk Spectre get in the way a little bit, but this moment was easily the most intense (and violent).
Ending: Yawn. My yawn is two-fold. Compared to the beginning and middle, the ending just doesn't hold up. No emotional connection, no fun excitement. I had a pretty strong hunch with who the bad guy would be. Plus, I am writing this review pretty late at night, so there's the other reason for the yawn.
Questions: Tiger? Seriously? Can somebody that read the novel fill me in here? And can you just choose to become a super hero? These aren't powers you're born with or granted (besides Dr. Manhattan)?
Rewatchability: It's kind of addictive. Just like Liz Lemon ... I want to go to there. But only parts of there. So I will definitely see it again, but not until I can control the length.
Watchmen closes in on three hours and with that comes tons of flashbacks and backstory. What's amazing is all of that works. Finding out the past with The Comedian, Rorschach and Jon (all separately) is all great. But be warned, this film earns it's R-rating. It's very violent and there's some sex thrown in. So please keep the kids away from this.
It's the present that really hurts. I never cared about the bad guy, Silk Spectre wastes everyone's time, and I'm sick of flawed humans in films. What I mean is ... The Matrix nailed it by describing humans as a virus. But Watchmen just harps on us killing ourselves. Yet, there's no human (non-superhero) to root for, so I didn't care if their version of Earth went up in smoke.
I hate going back and forth. It's close to a 7, and I'd give it a 6.5 if I was wishy-washy. But that's not me. So watch this man.
Final Score: 6/10