He Said/She Said #08: Watchmen
He Said/She Said is a bi-weekly column where a male and female reviewer from the site team up to debate the merits of a particular film.
In general, I’m bored with comic book movies. It’s the same thing, over and over; hero gets powers, hero learns to use them, hero becomes burdened with them, repeat. To be honest, I was expecting more of the same when I sat down to watch Zack Snyder’s WATCHMEN (read my full review). I’m not very familiar with the comic and all I knew about it was that it was a graphic novel, thus making it a good fit for Mr. Snyder.
But rather than sitting through another recycled comic book film, we get an epic story with its own world and own rules. I was hooked from the opening montage where he used Dylan’s classic “The Times They Are a Changin’” to show how and why their world is different from ours. It was also clear from the beginning that this is a movie based on an actual story, not just a bunch of superheroes running around fighting the bad guys. Each of these complex characters has a story and Snyder chooses to reveal their story at various points throughout the film.
Because this is a real story and not a cartoon, it runs a little long. If you watch the director’s cut, you’ll be in for a good three hours of film. But the three hours goes by fast and Snyder doesn’t waste our time with unnecessary scenes or side stories. He needed the three hours and he didn’t waste a second. WATCHMEN is not a movie for everyone, but it’s a good film with great characters.
I thoroughly enjoy comic book movies and was excited to see Watchmen and explore another world of super heroes. I was gravely disappointed. I find the struggles and origins of a superhero to be a unique and fascinating story and quite frankly I can’t get enough of it. The Watchmen didn’t live up to this expectation and was a let down for most of the film.
During the first montage, I too was hooked as we glimpsed into the world of the “superheroes” and their victories and defeats but as the story wore on I found myself bored and annoyed. Bored because it was way too long, and although there was a lot of development on some of the characters, there really wasn’t enough on others and I was left with questions. That annoyed me because I’m still not sure why some of these characters were even classified as superheroes. Did I miss something or did they even have any special talents to speak of? I can appreciate that Dr. Manhattan (aka The Blue Guy) has some cool skills but to me the rest of them just seemed to be vigilantes who took it upon themselves to uphold justice as they see fit.
I will admit that when you really delve into the storyline (which, did I mention is really, really long) you will find a great narration on society and some interesting character studies, but overall I feel a little cheated. With all of the hype that surrounded this movie I was expecting more. This may be because I have been conditioned to enjoy a certain type of “comic movie” but even as a transfer from graphic novel to silver screen I still don’t think Watchmen lived up to the standard of films that had previously taken this path, ie: SIN CITY or V FOR VENDETTA.