Movie Review: "Watchmen"

Rated: R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language.

Release Date: 03.06.2009 Wide

Starring: Carla Gugino

Director(s): Zack Snyder

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Film Genre: Sci-Fi , Adventure , Action

Film goers, be warned. Watchmen is no ordinary superhero movie, but it’s also not an extraordinary one.

This latest comic book adaptation is one complex, multi-layered murder mystery, set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society. It is the world Alan Moore created for his legendary comic book series, which, when published, challenged both the genre and medium.

For those who haven’t read the books, Watchmen chronicles a group of vigilantes which disbanded years earlier when masked superheroes were banned by the US government. The story begins when one of its members, "The Comedian" (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is murdered, setting “Rorschach” (one of his former partners) on a mission to find out “who done it”. But in reality the story is about much more than that. It is part political satire, part Shakespearian tragedy and oh yes, part “Detective Comics”. The maturity of its content is without a doubt going to surprise many that are unfamiliar with the work.

Nevertheless, the film is often hard to follow and unlike reading a comic book, in a movie you can’t go back and re-read a page to further understand what happens later in the story. Fortunately, the appeal of some of the characters are enough to keep our interest. Jack Earle Haley wonderfully plays “Rorschach,” the borderline psychopath who wears a mask with shape shifting inkblots, while giving the film its edge and ferocity.

While the film disappoints on some levels, hopefully viewers will be drawn to read to the comic book series that set a precedence for future books of its kind.