100 movies: Watchmen

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

Watchmen Watchmen (14/04/12)

In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.

This film is heavy. Heavy in terms of the context and the characters. While watching, I found that there was a whole lot to get through and to just think about. But it’s all put together really well. Especially if this girl here who hasn’t read the comic could take something away from the film.

It is a world I took a little while getting used to. A cross between a film noirish world with comic book heroes but all set in the 80s. Zack Snyder pulled it together surprisingly well.

Like I said before, there’s a lot to get through in the film. There’s the interpersonal stuff going on between the characters and the massive wider scale issue of the possible total wipe out of humanity. Tying the two of those together was almost successful, for me. Though there were times when I got lost or just confused as to how things were getting tied together. That happened more in the beginning of the film, so was probably more to do with the fact that I was still trying to get into the film.

The action sequences in the film were pretty damn breathtaking. Beautifully choreographed and were really enjoyable to watch. Some of the best I’ve seen. They packed a punch!

The core message of the film is, like I said before, heavy. I’m not sure if it’s been as well communicated as it has in the comic book. I know there was some uproar from comic book fans when this film was originally released. A lot of people didn’t seem happy. As there was so much going on, would this film had been better off it was split. To give more time for more development of the characters and just give it more room to breath?

Despite feeling bogged down while watching, I enjoyed it. Great visuals and a rather more dark comic book film makes for a nice, welcome change.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

29 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
  26. Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
  27. Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
  28. The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
  29. Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)

25 comments

  1. Hi, Jaina and company:

    I’ve always thought ‘Watchmen’ was a decent enough film. With a better than competent cast in film with excellent set direction. Where the frames in the film look as those they were lifted from the graphic novel.

    Still think Rohrschach is one of the coolest heroes around. A memorable take off on ‘The Question’, even if he was a psychopath. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan was superb as Allan Moore’s answer to Captain America.

    Surprisingly, the only part of the novel and film I didn’t buy was the sabre rattling over Afghanistan. Also, whoever was hired to play Nixon looked more like his VP, Spiro Agnew.

    • Nixon looked a bit embarrassing to me. He looked like something out of this old Brit show – Spitting Image show.

      Rohrshach took me a little while to get used to. Having a narrator but also his incredibly scratchy and deep voice! Give’s Bale’s Batman voice a run for his money! But definitely an incredible character. A psychopath with his own very individual morals.

  2. Glad you liked it. It’s the only graphic novel I’ve ever read and although it’s filled with great ideas, I found it bloody hard to get through. I decided to stick with books and films after that. Snyder did a great job though! Awesome opening credits!

    • I feel inclined to read the graphic novel, though the amount of people who’ve said how ridiculously hard it is to get through does put me off slightly.

      LOVED the opening credits. Snyder did do a fantastic job. Shame he’s gone a bit down the toilet since…

  3. I am glad that you did enjoy this. I own it and watch it from time to time. It was heavy. I think that is appropriate.

    I was more upset over the amount of parents who brought their young kids with them to the theaters to watch it.

    Nice review. 29 movies and counting!

    • Kids to see this!? Really?! Ok, that’s shocked me a little bit. I think there’s a growing notion that comic book films are for kids. But really not the case! Especially with Watchmen!

      29 and counting, though I think I’m a few movies behind what I should be onto so far!

      • I wouldn’t call it a growing notion, exactly… people have had this “comics are for kids” notion since the 1950s. It’s not surprising that people still think superheroes=”for kids”, and I suspect a lot of the general public’s backlash towards Watchmen was because it’s not only not for kids, it’s also very bleak and a bit rough even for a lot of adults to take. Worth it, though, as I think it’s a great adaptation of the story (and fixes one of the key problems I had with the book).

        • Meanwhile, if this story was told straight without the comic book characters or world, I’m sure there wouldn’t have been so much backlash from the general public.

          Bleak films are out there and there’s a need for them, I think.

  4. This is one of my fave Snyder movies. It is very heavy, like you said, so much going on but the stylish way he did it make it work I think. Like Jack said, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was superb here though his character is not likable.

    I’m really anticipating what Snyder will bring to the table w/ Man of Steel. I do love my Superman… AND Henry Cavill [swoon] ;)

    • There’s something about Jeffrey Dean Morgan that he’s never really all that unlikeable. He’ll always be John Winchester from Supernatural for me.

      I’m hoping Snyder can pull something brilliant out of the bag for Man of Steel. I would love for it to be a real visual feast and very different to what we’re used to seeing in comic book adaptations.

      I hear that swoon for Mr. Cavill!

  5. Cool! I’ve always wanted to watch this movie, but never got around to doing it. Is the cinematography like Sin City?

    • A little bit. But it’s a lot slicker and definitely has it’s own style. It’s got a more realistic feel to it, and yet very firmly in the comic book world.

  6. A little too long for my liking but since I actually read the graphic novel, I knew that all of the little details had to be there in order for this story to fully work. Not an amazing flick but very heavy, very dark, very entertaining, and also very strange. Just like the graphic novel. Good review Jaina.

    • It does go on for a little bit, but like you said, even with no knowledge of the graphic novel, I had a feeling that all of what was in the film needed to be there. It’s wroth sticking it out I think.

  7. First graphic novel I ever read. Loved it and had to see the movie immediately after. I really enjoyed the film adaptation, but I always wondered how it would translate to those who hadn’t read the book. Glad to hear it still worked for you, Jaina!

    • I was worried I just wouldn’t get it. It’s not like any other comic book film out there. But yep, still translates well to those who aren’t familiar with the source material.

  8. You liked it a lot more than I did. I don’t mind heavy subject matter, but I just couldn’t connect to it all. A friend of mine who I went to see this with told me it fit perfectly with the things he reads about. It looked nice, but felt overly long.

    • It is hard to connect to some of the characters, that is true. I don’t think I found a connection with one of them until at least 3/4 of the way through the film.

  9. Loved the graphic novel and loved the film. It follows the book very closely, I can see why that could turn some people off.
    In addition to being a wizard, having an amazing beard, and being one of my favorite writers Allan Moore is also close to brilliant. You should read the novel ASAP. I would also reccomend checking out his League of Extraordinary Gentleman series its mind blowingly good.

    “who watches the watchmen?” I do !!!!

    Nice write up Jaina

    • Ahh, I forgot Allan Moore was behind that too. Shame that the film adaptation was so poor. It’s amazing he agreed to letting another one of his comics being turned into a film. Glad he did.

      Will check out that graphic novel as soon as I can!

      • He didn’t actually agree to any of his books being turned into films (and has been pretty vocal about his objections, even when the films were actually pretty good). Thing is, they’re not really “his” books; they were written under contract for DC Comics, so it’s up to them whether or not they get adapted into films.

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