Based upon the Alan Moore graphic novel, Watchmen is set in an alternate reality where costumed “heroes” were created as state-sanctioned vigilantes to fight the mob and who helped the U.S. win the Vietnam war.
Another superhero movie with a difference, Watchmen sticks firmly to the moral grey areas showing these “heroes” as human and fallible; who is the more heroic, a violent sociopath obsessed with punishment through vengeance or an emotionally detached self-appointed guardian willing to sacrifice millions of lives for “the greater good”…? The core of the film is provided by charismatic anti-hero Rorschach’s Film Noir style investigation into the murder of fascistic black ops hero The Comedian, set to the backdrop of a skewed history and political situation which all makes for very interesting viewing and tinges the usual big budget spectacle with a nicely grimy undercurrent. Zack Snyder is hardly the most insightful of directors but his stylised visuals work perfectly here thanks to the wealth of intelligent ideas and interesting characters supplied by a source material that is very visual in essence. Definitely up there with the best of the modern style superhero movies, Watchmen is intelligent, dark and although I wouldn’t describe it as “exciting”, it’s perfectly paced over its two and a half hour length.
Considered by most to be unfilmable, Snyder has managed to pull off a bit of a coup with this one and created a superhero film that ranks amongst the best.