Posted by: Staff | 03.13.2009

Watchmen Not to be Watched


After director Zack Snyder‘s success with 300, Watchmen became the next incredibly hyped up graphic novel movie. Adapted from the comic book series by Alan Moore, Watchmen is not your average superhero movie. It is more like 300 with a dash of Hostel, a little Saw, and a touch of Sin City. With limbs being severed, bones popping out of skin, and numerous fingers being snapped, Watchmen is hard to sit through and definitely not for little kids or the squeamish. The plot is complicated and fun to follow, but this two hour and forty three minute movie suffers from slow patches and a plot that barely escalates.


The story takes place in 1980s America, the peak of the Cold War. Nixon is still president and is seen regularly throughout the film with a distorted nose. There is a group called the Watchmen consisting of “heroes,” only two of whom actually have superpowers. They have stopped fighting Communism and have broken apart. As the movie progresses the doomsday clock (which counts the amount of time until nuclear apocalypse) moves closer and closer to midnight.

This band of superheroes is unlike those you’d see in most comics. There is of course the beautiful heroine, Silk Spectre, and the brainy masked man who dresses like a nocturnal animal, Nite Owl, but after that, the rest of the Watchmen are unique. Rorschach is a masked, psychopathic Sherlock Holmes. He is easily the most developed and character, and Jackie Earle Haley does a superb job in this role.

There is Ozymandias, a mix between the Flash, Superman, and Bill Gates. The Comedian, whose murder sparks the majority of the movie, is the group’s expert marksman. Finally, the most unique character is Dr. Manhattan, an entirely blue super-intelligent physicist who can teleport, rearrange matter, and, most integral to the plot, see the inevitable future. Dr. Manhattan is naked for the majority of the movie, which is just unpleasant for everyone. It would seem that with his intelligence he would have learned to wear some form of undergarment.

The visuals are amazing but cannot make up for the incongruous music choices, the occasional appallingly gruesome violence, and the awkward sex scenes. The movie focuses a lot of its attention on the superheroes’ disturbing backgrounds, which are interesting, but hard to watch with dogs being killed and scenes that include rape. Watchmen definitely tells an interesting fictional story during a crazy time in real American history. Because of the hype, this was a big disappointment for me even though it was not a terrible film. Though the story behind it was good enough, it was a poorly made movie. It’s too bad that this venerated comic was tainted by the movie adaptation.

Watchmen is not a must see but a must read. Wait until it comes to DVD to watch it.



  1. Hi Tyler,
    I agree with you on this. The movie is definitely lacking some of the visual and storytelling devices that are in the book.

    The library will be purchasing the book soon and I was wondering if we could print out this review and put it next to the book? It may help draw more students to check it out.

    Good work,
    Ms. Dalbec

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