...and liked it.
Yeah, I know...half of my comic friends just threw up in their mouths right now.
Honestly, I feel bad for Zach Snyder. The poor bastard was damned no matter what type of movie he made. Because I've read a ton of reviews for Watchmen. Some from newspapers, some from internet movie fansites, some from personal friends of mine...and none of them agree on whether it was too long, too short. Whether it strayed from the original material too much, or needed to stay scene-for-scene perfect. And then I would read the comment sections and see even more opposing opinions. How the fuck could he please all these people?!
The only thing everyone seemed to agree on was the ending let them down...and to that extent, I agree.
You have a 3-hour-epic and it's filled to the brim with incredible imagery, passable dialogue, heavy themes and it just slows to a halt at the end...and talks...and talks...and talks...
But up until that last 15-20 minutes, I would give the movie a 9 out of 10. Seriously. (as it stands, I'd say it's more of a 7/10 film instead)
I didn't care that none of the Watchmen have super powers, (aside from Dr. Manhattan) yet in the film they're punching through walls, throwing people 40 feet into the air, or how choreographed the fight sequences were. (including more of that slow-mo that he loved do much in 300.) It made the fights more intense, gave us eye-candy to marvel at, (cause we've all wanted to see bones rip right out from their flesh!) and was just fun to watch.
Sure, it wasn't an emotional masterpiece. The characters weren't fleshed out as much as they were in the comic...but I really thought they did a good enough job establishing the aspects we most needed. I bought Dan and Laurie's love affair. I got that Dr. Manhattan was becoming more and more distant from humanity. Rorschach was by far the scene-stealer of the entire film. Jackie Earle Haley outdid himself in this role and might be able to get some award nominations down the line. The only weak link was Ozymandias. You never got the sense that he really was the world's smartest man...and his acting chops weren't that terrific.
But man, the moments that made the comic incredible are brought to life before our very eyes.
The Comedian's funeral inter-cut with all the horrible memories people had of him over the years is in there. You witness Rorschach deal with the child molester (with an even more brutal ending!) The entire prison sequence is there in all of it's bloody, bloody, bloody glory. The awkward "Night Owl can't get it up" attempted love scene is even still included!
...but nothing, and I mean nothing is as incredible as when Dr. Manhattan leaves Earth to hang out on Mars. That sequence, including him reliving his life up until that moment, gave me goosebumps.
For all the amazing special effects and make-up, it blows my mind how piss poor Nixon looks, (is he trying to out-cartoon Pinocchio with that nose?!) and why they chose to let Carla Gugino play the 60-year-old version of Silk Spectre is beyond me. Her make-up (and acting) was probably the least believable thing in the entire film.
I know that a lot has been made of the musical choices and how "obvious" they were...but again, it actually worked for me. A lot of what made the Watchmen believable was that it took place in our world, in our America, in our history...so choosing songs that are instantly recognizable and hold deep emotions with what was going on at the time, made sense to me. (Sure, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" during the sex scene was a bit much, but that was the only one that really made me giggle a lil' bit and took me out of the context of the film itself.)
Listen, it's not the greatest superhero movie ever made...and will barely make my top ten list at the end of the year (if at all) but I don't understand the way people are HAAAAAAAAATING it. I thought it was a lot of fun (as "fun" as a movie about attempted rape, murdering pregnant women, cutting arms off with a buzzsaw, and the constant threat of nuclear holocaust can be!)
In the end, it's not perfect, but I really felt that Zach Snyder fought to keep the bits that mattered most (NOT having it set present day, NOT covering up the blue cock, NOT settling for a PG-13 rating) and respected the graphic novel enough to not stray away too much. (I actually wished the Squid was still in the ending!)
Bonus! For those interested, the movies amazing opening title sequence have leaked all over the internet (and are being removed about as quickly as they're being uploaded) but for now, this foreign link seems to still work! Enjoy!