Holy crap this was the longest film I have ever seen. Going into this film knowing that Moore was the one behind the original graphic novel gave me a high level of excitement for this movie.. Let’s just say I didn’t walk out as happy as I did with V for Vendetta, though.
Watchmen is a 2009 action/drama film directed by Zack Snyder, and is based on the graphic novel with the same title by the visionary Alan Moore. Watchmen stars an ensemble cast including Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson. The film is set in an alternate history in the year 1985 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, as a group of mostly retired American superheroes investigates the murder of one of their colleagues before uncovering an elaborate and deadly conspiracy, while their moral limitations are challenged by the complex nature of the circumstances.
So let’s just get this out of the way, this film is a long ass movie. Even while watching the director’s cut of the film (which was like a 186 minutes runtime) this movie had me checking the time constantly to see how much longer I had left. Some times the length of the film is great, but this film should have been a TV mini series for all the material it had in it. The long and slow pacing of this film has some good and bad benefits, but I honestly see more bad than good. The slow pacing really bogs down the storyline, and unlike some fast paced beginnings, this film takes its time to settle in. From the beginning I was confused as to knowing if these people actually had super powers other than Dr. Manhattan, but after doing some research post viewing, I found out that he’s the only one with special abilities. I don’t know if it was ever even stated in the movie if they they had super powers or not. Confusing!
But before I complain too much, let’s talk about what I liked about this film. First off, the acting was pretty good. There were some moments were I wasn’t totally engrossed in the characters, but for the most part I was. Mostly Rorschach. The tone and lighting in this film was also great, as Zack Snyder is extremely good at making the world look like such a dark place. The CGI was mediocre and the audio seemed a bit off sometimes, but those were things I usually looked past. The story was a bit confusing, but in the end I understood what the writers of this film were trying to go for. It wasn’t the best ending I’ve ever seen, but it also wasn’t horrible. But like I said before in my Blade Runner review, “If I have to look up a movie’s ending (or storyline) online to understand what actually happened, then the film didn’t do a good job at explaining its story.”
What really got me was the amount of things going on in this film. We have the main story, we have each character’s backstory, we have older character’s backstory, we have random people’s storylines.. the list goes on! The film is incredibly confusing as there is just way too much going on. Like I’m gonna just say it.. The comic-book-animated-short-story-thing.. was shit. Like how did that have anything to do with the film? Like yes, I read online that it tied in with Matthew Goode’s character, but it never really did. Even the kid who is reading the comic thing was stupid and had no place in the film. Seriously Zack, you should have just left it out. Damn thing was boring, and had no place in the film.
I almost feel like I have to mention this, but this film was extremely dark. At first I thought it was going to have V for Vendetta‘s atmosphere and violence, but Snyder takes this film to an all new level. Coming off from 300, you can definitely tell Snyder went all in for this graphic film. There is nudity, mild language, a lot of gore, but ultimately that’s what makes this film tie closer to the novel. Although I personally believe gore shouldn’t be used as a form of entertainment in a film, this movie constantly made me look away from the screen in disgust. I really have to let this slide though, as this is how the novel was written and made to be. I would have liked the film a little more if it took a Noir stance on the gore parts, as it would have given those scenes more power and stress.
To wrap things up, Watchmen was a movie I had such high hopes for, that just didn’t blow me away like I intended it to. The story and characters kept this film from me giving it a “Bad”, but the long runtime, slow pacing, confusing storylines, weird ending, and lack of climax left me disappointed with this film. Yeah, some people loved it, and some people hated it, but I just felt like it was an alright movie. So, in conclusion I decided to give Watchmen an “Alright” on theVade Review Bar. So who will watch the Watchmen? Probably not me, anytime soon.