Watchmen is a 2009 American superhero film directed by Zack Snyder, based on the 1986–87 DC Comics limited series of the same name by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered, masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) uncovers a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his retired associates, only one of which has true powers, Rorschach glimpses a far-reaching conspiracy involving their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the world's future.
Why it Rocks
- It's a very faithful adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel along with his comic adapted as a movie, V for Vendetta, except for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
- Dr. Manhattan is an incredibly, solid character with a deep personality, and a design ripped straight out of the original comic.
- The film's backgrounds are gorgeous.
- Its intellectual complexity seems well-earned, not gratuitous but visually stunning.
- The film isn't your typical caper flick filled with kickass effects and gunfire and no premise.
- Great narration with Rorschach writing his journal.
- Although the usage of slow motion can be a little repetitive; there are many areas where it is used very well (ex. when the comedian is being thrown out the window).
- The 2019 HBO series of the same name, which takes place several years after this film, is just as good if not better.
- Zack Snyder was fairly decent choice for directing this movie, considering that he has made one good DC movie.
- The Director's Cut is a huge improvement and a lot closer to the source material despite the changes from the film.
- Its soundtrack is the most awesome and impressive.
- Great performances. Espcially Jackie Earle Haley as Rorshach, Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian.
- The opening credits are excellently done. Not only does it tell us about the universe in which this film takes place; but it also handles the slow motion really well and "The Times They Are A-Changing" by Bob Dylan's tunes times they are changing is perfectly used.
- Great special effects.
- The film's ending improved the comics where Nite-Owl does witness and mourns Rorschach being killed by Dr Manhattan as he exiles himself from earth. After that, Nite-Owl beats up Ozymandias and leave with Silk Spectre/ Laurie Jupiter to start a new life together despite removing the scene where Laurie tells her mother and former Silk Spectre, Sally, about the Comedian being her biological father.
- An R rated superhero movie is a really interesting and unique concept.
- Its complex narrative structure may make it difficult for it to appeal to viewers not already familiar with the source material.
- Speaking of the source material, it either changed scenes from the comics:
- The giant squid from the comic doesn't appear and was replaced with the destruction of New York with people disintegrated and no bodies around.
- Captain Metropolis, the leader of the “Crimebusters” does not appear in the film and wasn't in a meeting with the team.
- A young Walter Kovacs when being mocked by two bullies (who don't make fun of his prostitute mother, putting a tomato on him and grabbing him to his shirt). They also pushed him and laugh at him which angered Walter to punch one bully to the waist (in the comics, he scars the one bully by stealing his cigarette to blind him), and does eat another bully's cheek and is never punished for his actions.
- Nite Owl doesn't wear a solar suit and never uses a flying scooter with Rorschach.
- Some of the sex scenes can be extremely strange.
- Big Figure, one of Rorschach's enemies, doesn't look like an elderly man in the comics, and looks younger.
- Silhouette's lesbianism and death with her girlfriend can be disturbing with the "lesbian whores" sign despite it was never followed up unlike the comics.
- Some can appreciate the changes of the characters:
- Silk Spectre was wearing a translucent black and yellow skirt and clothed yellow shoulders and now in the film she is wearing black gloved shoulders and black and yellow shorts.
- Sally's Silk Spectre hairstyle doesn't have an mullet.
- Ozymandias doesn't have purple robes in his waist.
- Watchmen writer Alan Moore and it's artist Dave Gibbons are not credited in the film.
- As of the critics, they wrote about the film for its Cold War-period setting as a subject of criticism along with the use of 1980's fears that never came to pass felt dated.
Watchmen received a polarizing reaction from critics. However, it was universal acclaim by audiences and fans alike. Some critics gave it overwhelmingly positive reviews for the dark and unique take on the superhero genre, the cast, and the visual effects. On Rotten Tomatoes, Watchmen has a 65% approval rating based on 312 reviews and an average rating of 6.40/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Gritty and visually striking, Watchmen is a faithful adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel, but its complex narrative structure may make it difficult for it to appeal to viewers not already familiar with the source material.". On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating reviews from mainstream critics, the film has a score of 56 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was B on an A+ to F scale, and that the primary audience was older men.
Some critics who wrote negative reviews disliked the film's use and depiction of the Cold War-period setting, stating that the film's attempt to use the 1980s fears that never came to pass felt dated, and that Snyder's slavish devotion to faithfully adapting the source material as literally as possible did not allow his work to exhibit a creative distinctiveness of its own, and that as a result, the film and its characters lacked vitality and authenticity.
- The film adaptation was originally gonna be different from the film:
- The script from Sam Hamm was originally gonna deviate the comics:
- The Crimebusters are being referred as "The Watchmen" just like the comic's title.
- Removing Hollis Mason, the first Nite Owl.
- Removing Rorschach's narration from his journal.
- The Minutemen aren't shown or mentioned.
- Sally Jupiter, Laurie's mother and the original Silk Spectre is omitted.
- Nite Owl II doesn't have confidence from his missing vigilante days.
- Rorschach's flashback is only the reaction of the Balir Roche muder.
- Laurie has lung cancer whenever she keeps smoking, while Dr Manhattan removes the traces of the cancer.
- Dr Manhattan sacrifices himself from stopping his former self in time from becoming himself, thus he never kills Rorschach.
- The script was also going to be meta with the characters discovering that they were fictional one from a comic of the same name.
- Ozymandias creates a time traveling machine and is vaporized at the end.
- The script from David Hayter was also originally gonna deviate the comics:
- The film takes place in 2004 instead of 1985, where it has Silk Spectre get superpowers of slinging balls, while replacing Russia with Afghanistan being the threat.
- There was an early footage of Dan Dreiberg (played by Ian Glen) and Rorschach (without the cgi motion ink effect in his mask) in the kitchen directed by David Hayter.
- In the Before Watchmen: Minutemen of issue 3, Silhouette was shot while saving a little girl instead of being killed in a bedroom with her girlfriend.
- The script from Sam Hamm was originally gonna deviate the comics:
Batman Begins - Superman Returns - Lady in the Water - The Ant Bully - Beerfest - We Are Marshall - 300 - Trick 'r Treat - 10,000 BC - The Dark Knight - Watchmen - Observe and Report - The Hangover - Where the Wild Things Are - Ninja Assassin
Clash of the Titans - Jonah Hex - Inception - The Town - Due Date - Sucker Punch - The Hangover Part II - Wrath of the Titans - The Dark Knight Rises - Jack the Giant Slayer - 42 - The Hangover Part III - Man of Steel - Pacific Rim - 300: Rise of an Empire - Godzilla - As Above, So Below - Dracula Untold - Interstellar - Unbroken - Blackhat - Seventh Son - Jurassic World - Straight Outta Compton - Steve Jobs - Crimson Peak - Krampus - Warcraft - The Great Wall - Kong: Skull Island - Pacific Rim Uprising - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - Skyscraper - Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again - BlacKkKlansman - Little - Pokémon Detective Pikachu - Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Dawn of the Dead - 300 - Watchmen - Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - Sucker Punch - Man of Steel - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition) - Justice League* - Zack Snyder's Justice League - Army of the Dead
*: Snyder was the director of Justice League during principal photography, but was replaced by Joss Whedon during post-production. Snyder retained directorial credit for the finished film, though reports have indicated Whedon reshot a significant portion of the film. Snyder later edited a director's cut of the film, removing all of Whedon's footage and restoring his own footage that was deleted in the theatrical release. Snyder also shot four to five minutes of additional footage in late 2020 for his cut, released as Zack Snyder's Justice League.