Movie Review: The Watchmen
Sometimes a movie comes along that only has non-famous actors in it and it becomes a huge success, regardless. Juno was like that and it went on to be nominated for something. Well, this year’s unlikely hit is based on a book and called The Watchmen.
The Watchmen are a group of superheroes who used to be friends, but don’t see much of each other anymore because they are all retired. Retired, that is, until one of their friends is killed by an unknown person (and the twist of the identity of the villain is really good because you totally think he’s a good guy, the whole time) and it’s up to the Watchmen to get back to work.
Individually, they are all good crime fighters and good at karate, judo and martial arts. But as a team, their combined super powers make the Watchmen an unstoppable force against any crime world. Dr. Manhattan is made up, more or less, of electricity and ice. He can teleport, make people throw up, make himself really big, build complicated machines without having to touch stuff and lives in space because it stays really cold and he’s part ice. Unlike all of the other Watchmen, however, he wasn’t born with super powers. Dr. Manhattan got his by accident when he was a scientist and was electrocuted in a giant machine and lost all his hair and clothes. I didn’t really like the character all that much because he just seemed kind of moody and spent a lot of time criticizing the other superheroes. Apparently, being a nice friend is not one of his powers. Dr. Bummertown’s more like it. The one thing the movie borrows (steals?) was the look of Dr. Manhattan. Oh really, he just happens to look like the guys from Blue Man Group? I don’t think so. To me, that’s pretty unoriginal and lazy. Okay, so the actor is bald, they could have made Dr. Manhattan into a genie or a given him a hat. But, that’s JMTC.
My favorite Watchmen and the only female character, is a brunette that wears a yellow super hero outfit as a disguise. Besides being an amazing kung fu person, she has the ability to slow down time during a crisis. She uses this power to barely escape from a burning building and also during fights with bad guys. Oh, and she’s totally making out with two of her friends. I won’t say who, but I will say that one of them actually shows his real penis in the movie and…it’s blue. *SPOILER*
Night Owl can see in the dark and drives the team’s spaceship that shoots fire and is also a submarine. Rorschach is another hero and can change the shape of his mask, keeps a diary and is a redhead. I didn’t like this character, at all. He should have been called Short Fuse because, not only is he short, but is mean to everybody and to dogs. Granted, his anger might all tie in to him being shorter than normal people, but I was actually sort of glad he goes to jail!
The two other characters are kind of, well, not quite totally original. The first one is the guy that dies at the beginning in a bath robe. Obviously building off the popularity of Heath Ledger’s Joker, the movie introduces character called (are you ready for this?) Comedian. Ha! The thing about this is that, in both cases, neither character is funny. They go through all this trouble to think of a cool name and then don’t do anything else with it. WTF? Anyway, Comedian is an army guy that can travel through time and smokes cigars. The other character is a businessman who is really a wizard named Ozymandos. Really, guys? A wizard? Oz? *insert giant eye roll* Lame.
At over two hours, the movie itself is hard to follow and I admit that I was totally lost by the end of the movie. I like super hero movies where there’s a major villain and all the main super heroes have to figure out a way to stop him. To me, that’s a fun movie. Especially, if one of the characters has a dog or a pet that tags along for some of the missions because, no matter who you are, that’s cute. This movie was not fun or cute. Now, I’m not a prude, but I thought some of the scenes were just over the top, especially the gore and sex. In both cases, these were very explicit and made me sort of uncomfortable. Seeing all of the blood and bones and butts made me completely understand why someone said the novel is graphic.
Now, given the fact that the 80’s are making a huge comeback (i.e. fashion, music, clothes, etc.), it’s no accident that the Watchmen were like, “Hey, let’s set the movie back in the 80’s because it’s kind of popular, again.” I thought this was a good idea, but they totally missed what the 80′s were all about. It would have been so easy to have someone playing an old video game like Pac-man or pinball or have some of the Watchmen go see a popular 80′s band like Thriller or Madonna. That would have been “like, totally tubular!”
Then again, perhaps, maybe the setting of the 80’s had another purpose. As with all super hero movies, this one will no doubt become a trilogy. Where do Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach go off to at the end? Do Night Owl and the girl end up getting married? Do their kids have super powers? Did the wizard guy go to jail? There are so many unanswered questions that they have no choice but to make more movies. For all I know, they had this in mind all along. If so, it might be cool if part two takes place in the 90’s and then have the third one be modern day because then it makes it easier to watch.
I give The Watchmen two out of five winks.
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