Based on the comic book from the 1980’s of the same name, Watchmen is set in an alternative 80’s America, with Richard Nixon still as president, and the Cold War reaching a worrying high. On the streets of the U.S. most of the costumed hero’s from the 40’s (the minute men) are now in retirement and their replacements have been outlawed.
After the murder of a supposedly retired superhero, (The Comedian), one of his former partners Rorschach, now turned vigilante, takes it upon himself to start investigating, under the impression that someone is picking off costumed hero’s he starts visiting his former partners to warn them of his suspicions, expressing the notion that “an attack on one is an attack on all of us” in an attempt to encourage them to regroup.
As someone who has for many hours pondered the creation of new superhero’s I know only too well the frustration the creator of Watchmen would have been going through, left with nowhere to go, as all the best ones have been created, this would leave him with only two choices, either the very lame superhero or the outright ridiculous, the creator of Watchmen went with both.
The outright ridiculous comes in the form of Dr. Manhattan, an invincible, matter bending, emotionless blue scientist who spends the entire movie naked, he acts as Americas deterrent from outside threats such as the soviet union, and gained his ridiculousness by accidentally locking himself in an atomic experiment chamber “Doh!”
The lame superhero’s (who don’t actually posses any super powers) consist of, Nite owl, a very unenthusiastic character with some very underwhelming gadgets in his basement, one being a hovering Podmobile, Silk Spectre II, who is an equally unenthusiastic addition, her main claim to fame being she is the daughter of the previous Silk Spectre, Ozymandias, a wealthy shrewd businessman who exploits his previous superhero status, The Comedian, who gets killed off at the beginning but who you see in retrospective scenes, usually behaving in a questionable way, and last but by no means least Rorschach, by far the best of the lame bunch, a vigilante, who acts as judge, jury and executioner to anyone he deems immoral.
The problem with Watchmen is that there’s handfuls of superhero’s but no villains, which means there’s no one for them to fight and therefore not a lot of action, and that in turn makes it a real stretch to look at them as hero’s let alone super, the only redeeming feature is Rorschach, the scenes with him in are engaging not least because he seems to be the only thing moving the storyline along, (a T.V. mini-series for him would work well), as for Dr. Manhattan, an emotionless invincible superhero is appealing to no one, especially one with a blue penis.
If you come to Watchmen in a kind of melancholy mood, you may swing either way, loving or hating it, for fans of the original comic book I’m sure there will be a number of things to appreciate here, but for everyone else it will be two and a half hours of puzzlement.
End Credits: Director: Zack Snyder Stars: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Mathew Goode Length: 155 mins