Directed by Zack Snyder
Based on the comic book by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore
Screenplay by David Hayter and Alex Tse
Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson
Release Year: 2009
IMDB Rating: 8.0

Another movie based on comic book, Watchmen is set in an alternate timeline when the cold war between United States and the Soviet Union still persists and moving towards the risk of a nuclear war. In this timeline, the United States won the Vietnam War thanks to the intervention from Dr. Manhattan, and that Richard Nixon won his third presidency bid. The story opened with the murder of Edward Blake, or known as The Comedian, long after the government passed the Keene’s Act, a law that outlawed costumed vigilantes. Upon learning the murder of The Comedian, another vigilante Rorschach set out to investigate the case. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking as the confrontation between United States and the Soviet Union escalates, putting the world on the brink of a nuclear war.

While most people who haven’t read the comics may think that this is a superhero movie, there’s only one character with superhuman abilities. The rest of the characters have no superhuman abilities and as shown at the beginning of the story, may die. Another thing that may surprise the audience who expects lots of action scenes and special effects, there are only lots of special effects here, but the action scenes were very few. The movie’s duration of 162 minutes could exhaust some, although I definitely enjoy the entire movie.

The cast were great with the emphasis on Jackie Earle Haley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Billy Crudup, while mostly contributed his voice rather than his looks, was also played very well even in just voice. Patrick Wilson and Matthew Goode also fit their roles well, although still outshined by Jackie Earle and Jeffrey Dean. The lead actress, Malin Akerman may be the weakest among the cast, and definitely outperformed by Carla Gugino who played Sally Jupiter. The dialogues and expressions were brilliant. With or without his mask, Rorshach was definitely a menacing character, despite being rather short compared to his fellow Watchmen. Unmasked, I could instantly see that Clint Eastwood face on Jackie Earle. Not only the face, but also the voice.

Visuals in the Watchmen are fantastic, especially the costumes and the colors. Again, I haven’t read the comics, but the flow of the story was enjoyable, moving back and forth in order to unveil more information on the characters. This movie exploits not the powers of the heroes inside, but rather it exploits the inner psychology of the characters: the uncomprimising Rorshach; a rather hesitant Nite Owl; the frustrated Laurie Jupiter, the violent and ruthless, patriotic Comedian; and Dr Manhattan that slowly losing his humanity; and the genius Adrian Veidt who would do anything to achieve his goals.

Overall, this is a unique movie about heroes. It doesn’t idolize heroes like Spiderman, Iron Man, or Batman, but it shows a more balanced charaterizations of the heroes. Given that this is a comic book adaptation, I believe I should also credit the series creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. One thing for sure, this movie is not suitable for kids for some of the contents. For the final rating, I’d give this movie a 9.0. Yes, this means it beats my ratings on Iron Man and Dark Knight. I guess if you want to make a hero story dark, make it dark all the way, not just halfway.

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