Director: Zack Snyder.
Screenplay: David Hayer & Alex Tse.
Release Date: 2009.
Runtime: 215 min.
Genre(s): Action, Drama, Mystery, Science-Fiction.
Cast: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, and many more!
Opening Weekend: $55,214,334.
Gross USA: $107,509,799.
My Overall Rating:★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10).
There are only a handful of formidable movie adaptations that have been created ever since they were a thing. With stories being found in various places and in various forms, the idea of offering a cinematic experience based on another format has become everlastingly tantalizing. Based on plays, books, comics or video games, there are gazillions of stories that are at the disposition of directors and producers around the world to bring them to life and give them a twist of their own. Unfortunately, these adaptations, incredibly popular with every year, have often failed fans of the source material and gave birth to a common and shared consensus on the pitiful adaptations. Director Zack Snyder, however, accomplished one of the most revered comic book adaptations of all time with his 2009 movie adaptation of Watchmen.
What is Watchmen about? The story loyally follows Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel of the same name as it sets out to illustrate a grim and depressive superhero-filled alternate reality in the 1980s. In 1939, a group of heroes called the “Minutemen” were formed and given the power to act as legally-acceptable vigilantes. As the Vietnam war came forth, the godly Dr. Manhattan was formed following a terrifying incident and gave the United States a living weapon of mass destruction that will thus lead them to win the war. By the end of the 1970s, a general consensus is identified where vigilantes aren’t considered necessary for humankind and leads to the Keene Act. Simultaneously, in the middle of the 1980s, the Soviet Union threatens nuclear war and the world is on the brink of hysteria. But something far more mysterious occurs when an ex-vigilante is assassinated as the unhinged detective Rorschach looks into a potential conspiracy theory at work right under everyone’s noses.
What’s the difference between the theatrical and the ultimate cut? Simple. The latter is longer and better. Not only does it offer a 215-minute movie with the sharp and slick edge that cuts deep into your psyche as it numbs you with its dark and grim themes, but it also incorporates an animated adaptation of the comic Tales of the Black Freighter—found in the original graphic novel—with Gerard Butler as the voice actor. The ultimate cut also includes several live-action sequences that are never-before-seen which further captures director Zack Snyder’s desire to fully adapt the graphic novel’s essence onto the big screen. Although the animated scenes aren’t seamlessly interspersed into the movie, they allow for an exploratory and thematic change in the narrative that ultimately leads to a similar philosophical idea that is perceptible in the main narrative.
Unlike any other comic book adaptations, this movie’s loyalty to the original narrative is unprecedented and allows for a mind-blowing cinematic experience where the dissection of the superhero concept is near perfection. From the movie’s tone through the use of slow-motions, real sets, tamed doses of CGI, and slick gore, to the incredible performances by the members of the Watchmen, such as Jeffrey Dean Martin as the Comedian and Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, there isn’t a scene where the actors didn’t believe in their own characters and conveyed their true nature through mannerism and dialogue. In fact, the graphic novel already offers each of these characters a heavy-themed and eye-opening story, and to see these actors execute their roles with such finesse is just invigorating.
The score is also meticulously chosen and weaved into key scenes to give them their own unique flair. The gore included in every fight sequence is staggering and authentic. The banter is crisp and alluring. Director Zack Snyder undoubtedly consumed the original graphic novel’s with the intention to capture the complexity of the narrative while also shaping his cinematic piece into a thing of his own. There’s a subtle yet masterful hint of irony and cynism that is present throughout the movie that helps absorb the nihilistic traits that are fundamental to the narrative, and it’s simply a joy to watch it being unveiled to us with such passion.
Watchmen (2009) is a terrifyingly brilliant comic book adaptation filled with grit and grime as it explores the inevitable transformation of humankind from good to evil despite our most honorable intentions.
Watchmen (2009) is the first live-action movie adaptation of the classic graphic novel. It is the most loyal adaptation to the source material to date. A TV show serving as an extension to the universe is currently ongoing.
Have you read Watchmen?
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