Over the years, I’ve reviewed over 1,100 films, and several of those reviews were covering the numerous superhero flicks that have swept the country. I have to admit, one superhero movie I’ve avoided was Watchmen, and there are reasons for that which I’ll get into – but I can’t ignore how much of a following it received, and to be honest, my curiosity for the movie never escaped my mind. So today, I made it a point to finally sit down and give it a go, and I didn’t realize that the Ultimate edition was 3.5 hours long. Yeah. So let’s get into it.
Okay, it’ll be hard to talk about the plot in the way the movie does, so to keep things simple, I’ll just say this is a movie about a group of superheroes that have since retired from that point in their lives. But when a fellow comrade is murdered, Rorschach believes there might be a conspiracy at work to kill all the heroes on the team…but it goes deeper than that, on a possibly nuclear holocaust level. So the merry band of misfits must team up once again to figure out what’s really going on, and what that means for the future.
I’ve told many people throughout the years that I was avoiding this movie for a couple of main reasons. The first of which deals with the simple fact that it didn’t look interesting to me in general, the second had to do with the fact that it looked like a film noir, and in some ways, it feels like while watching, but thankfully…not very much. This movie’s concept is incredibly simple, which is the first reason why I’m lost at why it’s so god-awful long. I get it, I watched the “Ultimate Edition”, which is much longer than the theatrical release…so that’s on me. I can’t say the theatrical release is as bad because, well, I have never seen it. This version, though, is a little convoluted.
You have three main movies happening at the same time – a series of flashbacks that aren’t done in chronological order, the main story revolving around the murdered comrade, and an insanely random cartoon side-story that makes no sense. You can further split the main murder story into multiple sections as well, mainly following around Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan, and then there are several tiny, but repetitious stories throughout the movie as well. It’s just very, very convoluted and incoherent. Storytelling is my main complaint, let’s talk visuals and sound. The only great thing about the storytelling is something I can equate to, say, Guardians of the Galaxy. The fact that you’re introduced to these unfamiliar characters in a less-than-conventional form of storytelling – yet remain incredibly memorable is commendable.
This movie is a visual masterpiece, no question. Everything from the costume design, to the visual effects, to the graphic violence, to the fight choreography are breathtaking. It distracted me enough away from the storytelling to enjoy it a little more. The sound was equally impressive, as its use of background songs, to montages, to just…Rorschach’s voice was so appealing to my ears. These artsy elements, in a way, made me forget about the fact that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the storytelling.
Watchmen is an interesting movie that was an absolute challenge to my critiquing skills…especially because I still didn’t really have a huge interest in seeing it. However, I’m glad I did. Despite the writing that seems to be all over the place, besides the fact that there seems to be more stories in this movie than necessary, besides all that – Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan are two of the most memorable characters in film history – and it’s practically worth it to watch the movie for them alone.