I just got back from seeing Watchmen, and here are some of my thoughts on the film (this entry contains some spoilers). Obviously, I have been eagerly anticipating this movie for a long time now and it is definitely one of the movie spectacles of 2009. That being said, I have also been afraid to see it. It´s not because I was afraid if the comic book would or would not translate to the silver screen (because that would’ve been impossible anyway), it´s because Watchmen is directed by Zack “300″ Snyder (I still can´t figure out if 300 was the manliest or the gayest movie ever made). Now after seeing Watchmen he became even a bigger mystery to me; is he a genius or is he just the tackiest and tasteless director ever..?
First of all it is good to keep in mind that Watchmen is not your typical superhero movie (or graphic novel for that matter). It is definitely not a movie you bring your kids to and enjoy with the whole family. It has horror movie -like violence (lots of it), explicit sex, male full frontals all through the movie, and of course the really dark undertones of the story and the characters. There is not even that much heroism in it.
The story takes place in a time when almost all the once celebrated masked heroes are either retired or dead. And the ones that are still left are more or less inactive. They have real human problems and the world is a twisted place, where nuclear holocaust could happen any second. The story jumps back and forth quite a bit, which isn’t typical for this genre. But the real problem with Watchmen seems to be that it is quite uneven at times. It has ridiculous looking costumes, weird songs, explicit sex, über violence and the story is very dark and serious. All this of course came together in the comic book perfectly, but I wish the movie would have been updated to this day a little bit. Not much, but enough so that you can actually take it seriously.
The thing that actually bothered me the most, and also the thing I can´t seem to get out of my head was Dr. Manhattan´s big blue penis. Yes penis. Big and blue. And also his ass, now that I think about it. Well, I don´t have anything against these body parts per se, but it did give the movie experience a little bit of a weird vibe. I just kept on thinking about the guy who was assigned to do the 3D-modeling on Billy Crudups (huge) cock. Anyway my point is that this distracts from the story itself. Yeah yeah, it´s like that in the comic book, and yeah it brings more depth to the character who has lost almost all contact to being human, but so what? There is no reason to see that much of anything blue…
The other thing was the soundtrack. It felt really out of place and even odd at times. But once again I can´t decide if it was actually totally awesome or a big fat fail. In any case I don´t think you can justify 99 luftballons under any circumstances, I don´t care who you are. But it was like that with almost everything, almost everything was a little off. Although I have to hand it to Snyder, it was definitely a unique and one of a kind film experience, and that´s always a good thing!
There were also tons of pretty awesome things in the movie. Of course the story is absolutely brilliant, as were the casting choices. One of my favorite things in the movie was Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach (a sociopath with principals). He was charismatic with and without the mask! Also top marks on the cinematography and production design (which was – of course – expected from Snyder). The movie did look good, I especially liked the wide range of colors that was used in the sets and costumes, lighting etc. That part of the film for me worked perfectly, so visually it was definitely a 5 star movie.
So what is the final verdict? I´m going to give 4/5 stars, because I did enjoy the experience and it definitely had a new and fresh approach to the genre (with the occasional moments of cinematic eye candy). In fact, storywise this is my favorite super hero movie to date.