Saturday, March 7, 2009

Watchmen - 2 1/2 stars

I have never read the comic book series or graphic novel of Watchmen. So I knew almost nothing going in. The movie is about a bunch of retired superheroes. They were successful crime fighters at one time, but in the movie's version of 1985 (where Nixon is still president), they are outlaws. I think. I know the public doesn't like them anymore, and I think it may be illegal for them to put on the masks and fight crime, but they aren't in jail, so I guess they just stopped being superheroes when it became illegal.

The movie is very confusing. It starts in 1985 with the murder of one of the former superheroes, The Comedian. Then we get a quick recap of their history from the 1940s to the present. The rest of the movie is a series of flashbacks showing selections of each characters' backstory. At the same time, the surviving Watchmen think someone is after them and they start investigating who might be trying to get rid of them. There is also a subplot about America and Russia moving towards nuclear annihilation (Mutually Assured Destruction).

I think by trying to put this huge story into a 2 hour 45 minute movie, they had to loose way too much. By trying to cram so much in, I ended up not caring about hardly any of the characters. The only one I really cared about was Rorschach, and that was because of the performance of Jackie Earle Haley. Every time he was on screen, I was interested. The rest of the time, not so much.

For me, the movie might have worked better if it was shorter and focused more on Rorschach's story. But I also might have enjoyed it more as a 12 part miniseries, where they wouldn't have had to short change all the characters and their stories. As it is, I think only fans of the comic will like it. I was so bored at times that I felt like walking out. It was at least an hour into the movie before I started caring about any of the characters at all.

The only reason I gave it 2 1/2 stars instead of a lower rating is because by the end of the movie, I was liking it a little better. I liked the overall message of the movie, and how it didn't have a typical superhero ending. When the director's cut DVD comes out, I will consider watching it to see if the longer version helps me like it better.

No comments: