Day Eight: Watchmen (2009) (March of the Movies 2022)

People close to me know that I think superhero films are an oversaturated market, recently molded into a winning formula that lacks that extra something due to corporate ambitions. Spoken non-pretentiously, superhero films bad because Disney make them all same-y and safe. It’s not only Disney, of course, but when Disney owns the properties of what seems like hundreds of different superhero IPs, they’re an easy target.

Warner Bros., on the other hand, tends to be a tad more ambitious (with generally scattered results) with their superhero films. My heart tends to side with DC for this reason alone, though it doesn’t make me particularly “fond” of it. Watchmen was something I decided to watch based on a lot of positive praise, even amongst critics I trust. My brother even enjoyed the comics they were based off of. That was enough for me to give it a shot.

Getting fairly late in the day, so this won’t be too long today.

Watchmen is a fairly solid superhero (but also kind of not) film that touches on a lot of the factors that people typically desire from such. Good action scenes, a straightforward storyline with many dark turns, and a cast of characters with clear motivations / personalities. The first of those isn’t particularly enticing for me, but the latter two are.

Two characters stood out to me: Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan. Both of these characters really drive the intrigue of the plot forward, both offering two extremes of personal justice and perspective on life. Not to say others don’t offer their own satisfying outlooks, but the former two have a little more “oomph” to them. Two are just running away from their fears / insecurities and another is kind of… perfect? I guess?

Real Eyes Realize Real Lies

That said, there are some specific portions of the writing and scene selection that doesn’t totally sit right with me. Some conversations echo too strongly with the sole intent of serving exposition, and rather non-realistically at that. This tends to occur more near the beginning. Like, characters talking about personal history and conveniently forgetting information that would be very obvious for them to know, only to have the other character fill in the blank.

This film, in its extended cut form, is two hours and forty minutes long. While not the longest-feeling film I’ve encountered, there are bits that tend to drag. Was every scene necessary? Zack Snyder seems to prefer throwing in as much stuff as humanly possible, like George Lucas. A big, bloated anthem of superhero theatrics and character dissection. It can certainly work in the right context, yet it occasionally falters here.

Kind of wish the characters had more to them, too. Funny how, despite all the time dedicated to them, only a few of them give us a sense of identity. Only two characters in the cover image for this post will likely be remembered by me, name and all. Perhaps too simple, perhaps too superficial. As stated previously, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan were the stars here.

It’s all a big joke.

Conclusion

This isn’t going to magically have me singing the tunes of superhero stories, but for what it’s worth, there’s a lot to like here. Maybe a little misguided and overly long, it also has some really strong bits of character building and a rewarding end. Also was rather pleased with how realistic most things looked. Some CGI was incorporated, which looked fine overall. Still, relatively solid and rather enjoyable. One of the better superhero films I’ve seen in recent years.

Final Score: 6.5/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.

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