Watchmen – Part Two (Contains Spoilers!)

After going and seeing Watchmen, I think I can officially say that I was not disappointed! It would have been very, very easy for Zack Snyder and the producers behind this film to royally mess this up, and I was worried they’d take the foundations of the graphic novel and make a typical superhero movie out of it. As it turns out, exactly the opposite was true! So here’s my run down of what I thought, step by step:

At first I wasn’t sure about the opening credits, showing snapshots of history and the gradual effects that masked heroes have on society, but as Watchmen progresses you realise that this has been dealt with swiftly in order to make room for the integral parts of the graphic novel to get the screen-time they need. Chronologically, Watchmen actually plays out a lot like the graphic novel does, all the events happening in the order in which they occur on the page. This has been captured so well that even certain shots and a lot of the dialogue has been lifted straight off the page, as if the pages themselves were used as storyboards for the shooting script.

The look of the characters has been captured perfectly as well (with the possible exception of Nite Owl‘s “power suit”), which makes for an even better viewing experience. Dr. Manhattan appears in such graphics that make him seem even more other worldly than in the graphic novel, and Rorschach‘s constantly changing face is such an amazing visual that its a borderline distraction just to watch it! At first, I was questionable about Jackie Earle Haley’s role as Rorschach, as I thought he wouldn’t have the right look. However, at the point where the authorities unmask him and you see his real face, I realised I was totally wrong and he appears exactly as he does in the graphic novel.

I already knew that the ending to Watchmen wasn’t going to be the same as the book, but I’d heard that it had been majorly changed to a more “Hollywood” ending. As it happens, the ending to Watchmen is not drastically different from the book but has obviously been changed slightly so that it connects the storyline more. As it now stands, a device is teleported to the heart of New York that replicates Dr. Manhattan‘s energy, but still destroys the city and the people. This device is what we see Dr. Manhattan working on at the beginning, which means that all the parts about the missing doctors and artists on the island has been totally cut. This actually works very well in the sense that anything unnecessary has been cut whilst still keeping the storyline very much the same, including the all-too-vital ending. The only drastic thing that is missing is the accompanying story of The Tales of the Black Freighter, which is soon to be released on a separate DVD for those that want the full picture.

The whole world of Watchmen is amplified when you’re seeing it played out, which means the violence is all the more real than in the graphic novel. The atmosphere, the intricate story and the amazing feeling of uncertainty right at the end is all part of what makes this film what it is. Although Rorschach is a favourite of the characters, in the film he is brilliantly played as psychopathic as they come, which only increases the dark, brooding feeling Watchmen carries with it.

Overall, I truly believe that this is as faithful an adaptation as anyone can hope for from the original graphic novel -the visuals are amazing, the storyline (for the most part) is the same, as is the dialogue and the shots, and the action makes the film even more gripping. And the length of the film is understandable – it’s a complex storyline, and as much of the original Watchmen has been included as possible. I was completely blown away pretty much from start to finish, and whilst I can perhaps see what people mean about it not transferring well to the screen from the graphic novel, I personally thought that a brilliant job was done. With that in mind, Watchmen clearly deserves a humongous 9/10 – So who will be watching the Watchmen?

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