Opinion | Bona Fide | “Watchmen”

A review of “Watchmen”


Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen” came out in 2009.

WARNING: “Watchmen” is rated R by the MPAA for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language. Be forewarned, this is a bloodthirsty film.

“Watchmen” (2009) introduces a group of ex-cops who do what the police cannot. Therefore, they dress up in costumes to keep their identities a secret so they can carry out the unholy tasks of justice without consequences.

Society–therefore– has outlawed masks, leaving the Watchmen dissolved until one of their own is murdered.

Set in an alternate United States where the country is gearing closer and closer to nuclear war with the Soviet Union (Doomsday Clock at five minutes to midnight), “Watchmen” alters history to fit the storyline of masked vigilantes.

Directed by Zack Snyder (“300,” “Man of Steel,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”), “Watchmen” could have easily been hit or miss and for many audiences, it was. Holding an aggregated score of 64 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, “Watchmen” is not without its haters.

Nonetheless, Snyder created an achievement in visual cinema. The stunning landscape and flawless editing is why “Watchmen” is one of the best films of all time.

The opening credits recreate the history of the U.S. through a five-minute video illustrating how the Watchmen have altered history (all to “The Times They Are-A Changin’” by Bob Dylan). Through this timeline, the audience sees the Watchmen impact historic events such as the Zapruder film, Warhol’s Pop Art and Nixon’s Presidency.

The scene alone exemplifies Snyder’s mastery of editing.

The scale of “Watchmen” is huge and the visuals are a Thanksgiving-sized feast for the senses that had never before been utilized on film. Stunning is an understatement.

While “Watchmen” is a masterpiece in the style of filmmaking, it is not without its story and script-based flaws.

First, Malin Akerman who plays Silk Spectre II needs to either be banned from Hollywood or taught how to act. It seems as if she is reading her lines directly from the script.

Some scenes are over exaggerated, especially when it comes to the nuclear war gearing up throughout the film. The side characters are heavily cartoonized and their high-stakes conversations feel like a hiccup in the writing.

Again, some of the dialogue written for the screen as though the screenwriter lifted the lines straight from the comic book. The adaptation cries for help in certain scenes with its clunky underdeveloped dialogue.

But as noted, the stylistic approach is phenomenal and the pros heavily outweigh the cons.

Although the audience can’t catch a break from the corny dialogue at points in the film, there are certain scenes that illustrate the potential of “Watchmen,” scenes that are completely foreign to the miscellaneous corn.

One scene in particular that reveals Dr. Manhattan’s past is the best scene in “Watchmen.”

The characters of Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) and The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) are the pinnacle of “Watchmen.” Their characters are the most actualized by their actors and fully developed through the narrative.

“Watchmen” is one of the strongest outings in the superhero film genre for its creativity, certain character development and absolutely breathtaking visuals and editing that will hold up for another 20 years to come.

Check out “Watchmen” on Decider to find the perfect streaming service.