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Each week, PS News’s film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.
Director: Zack Snyder, Warner Bros, Rated MA, 163 Minutes
There has been much media hype and anticipation surrounding Zack Snyder’s blockbuster production of Watchmen.
Unfortunately, Watchmen does not follow the trend set by popular superhero movies such as Batman and Superman, instead heading towards darker, ultra violent content.
The film is based on Alan Moore’s graphic comic book that developed the Watchmen in the 1980s.
Snyder (director of 300) brought to the screen Moore’s complex interpretation of a mixed group of costumed superheroes, known in the 40s as ‘Minutemen’ and in the 80s as the ‘Watchmen’- with most of them now in retirement.
Watchmen takes place on an alternate timeline.
After a brief introduction to their evolution, the film begins in 1985 with the United States winning the war in Vietnam, electing Richard Nixon to a third presidential term and standing on the brink of a nuclear war with the U.S.S.R .
The visually striking superhero, Dr Manhattan, stands as the United States’ only real deterrent.
The commencing scene is full of super action resulting in the murder of Eddie Blake (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a retired costumed hero known as ‘The Comedian’.
Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), another retired costumed hero, believes Blake’s death is linked to a plot to eliminate all the former costumed heroes and warns his partners including Dr Manhattan, Silk Spectre, the Nite Owl, and Ozymandias - collectively dubbed the ‘Watchmen’.
They disregard Rorschach's theory until Dr. Manhattan disappears, leaving them with the unenviable task of turning back the doomsday clock and stopping the threat of nuclear war.
Complementing some incredible settings are the actors chosen to play the superheroes, most of who are relatively unknown but are still effective in their roles.
In particular Billy Crudup as Dr Manhattan, Matthew Goode as Ozymandias, Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian, Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl and Malin Ackerman (27 Dresses) as Silk Spectre, deliver fine performances.
When watching the movie some inconsistencies are apparent but could be due to the intertwining of various plots and subplots within the complex storyline.
It is to Snyder’s credit that he still is able to deliver a realistic edge to the many action sequences, using slow motion techniques to great effect.
Through the use of an appropriate soundtrack (highlighting some of the popular songs of the 60’s) and special effects, Snyder has produced what can only described as a visually stunning and dramatic portrayal of the ‘Watchmen’ as he believes was envisaged in the graphic comic book.
Nevertheless, Watchmen is not your typical superhero motion picture, with the inclusion of only one actual superhero (Dr Manhattan) and five costumed heroes.
In view of the complexity, excessive violence and length of this movie, Watchmen may not appeal to everyone, with some possibly preferring to stick to the ‘feel good’ superhero icons that have provided so much enjoyment to audiences around the world.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps