Watchmen (2009)

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The Dark Graphic Novel Makes It's Way To The Big Screen

"Watchmen" is perhaps one of the most intriguing comic book based films, I've seen. The story is essentially about a retired super hero, The Comedian/Edward Blake (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whom gets murdered one night. Rorschach/Walter Kovacs (Jackie Earle Haley), a rogue super hero, decides to take it upon himself to investigate the murder. Unfortunately, as he tries to unravel the truth behind the case, he uncovers a conspiracy that could possibly change the fate of the entire world forever. Featuring solid performances by Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman), Malin Akerman (Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II), and Patrick Wilson (Dan Dreiberg/Night Owl II). The film seemed rather interesting since it's the first super hero film, that employs a film noir element, since "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm." Creating a dark atmosphere of mystery within the film itself. As it seems Zack Snyder does a wonderful job collaborating a story that invokes mystery, murder, chaos, adultery, corruption and scandal. The special effects and action choreography was brilliant in this film as it could easily rival any movie. Unfortunately, the slow motion seemed a tad obsessive at times, and the pacing of the film seemed rather slow. Plus,the story line tends to become a bit overly excessive with Dr. Manhattan's and Rorschach story, that any characters who aren't involved with them are simply irrelevant in the movie. Even the romance between Spectre II and Owl Man II seemed like its only purpose was to dramatize Dr. Manhattan's story arc, rather than trying to establish each of the individual characters. However, that is not to say that this film is a bad movie, by any means. As I felt Zack Snyder's dark direction for this movie pretty much carried the film, along with his use of artistic imagery. "Watchmen" may not be as epic as advertised, but it's definitely worth watching.

The special effects for this film was nothing short of amazing as it could easily rival any of the year's big blockbusters. The fight choreography seemed tastefully done as well as the level of detail to the costumes, and set designs were impressive. Sadly, the slow motion does tend to become a bit excessive, as the film constantly likes to use it for dramatic effect. Plus, the film does tend to suffer from pacing issues at times. However, I digress.

As I've stated earlier the film's story arc heavily concentrates on Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach. Unfortunately, this leaves very little character development for the rest of the characters, whom aren't directly associated with them. Even the romance between Night Owl II and Spectre II was merely used to emphasize how Dr. Manhattan's powers and omnipotence, has made him more distant from the world. During the film as Dr. Manhattan acquires and develops his powers, he meets a young girl in Spectre II. The both of them enjoy a small romance for a time but as his powers evolved, he quickly became more distant from her. As it would seem, Dr. Manhattan doesn't age at all due to his new found powers, that causes him to neglect Spectre II as they've been dating for a while. Therefore, she seeks companionship with Night Owl II, whom has always been in love with her since they met. As Dr. Manhattan continues to see the greed of humanity through his ventures, and his failing relationship with Spectre II, allows the viewer to see just how alone he feels in our world.

As for Rorschach, I found his character to be perhaps the most intriguing of all; Jackie Earle Haley, does a great job portraying his character with a sense of conviction for justice, yet feels betrayed by society itself. Although his origin story does tend to slow down the film's continuity, it's through his character the audience is able to discover a giant conspiracy surrounding The Comedian's death. I won't ruin it for those that haven't seen the film, but it does paint an elaborate picture that questions the nature of humanity itself.

Which leads to the story and direction of the film. Zack Snyder does a great job introducing film noir elements into the movie. As he uses various array of symbolism throughout the film, that makes it worth watching. Like the love scene with Night Owl II and Spectre II, as they unzip their costumes from their head all the way down until they both naked as their alter egos. This scene was used to symbolize how our protagonists hide behind their costumes, to hide their true selves as Dan and Laurie show their true feelings for each other. Even the trademark "happy face" with a splash of blood on it, symbolizes that even in a world of heroes, corruption and deceit can still exist.

"Watchmen" may not be one of the biggest films of the year, but it's definitely worth watching. Featuring strong performances and a intriguing storyline, this film fails to disappoint. The special effects are top notch along with the fight choreography. Unfortunately, this film suffers from a lot of pacing issues and the slow motion seems to be over done a lot, for dramatic purposes. However, with those flaws aside, "Watchmen" is definitely one of the most intriguing super hero films, I've seen.




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