Watchmen is an American epic neo-noir superhero film set in an alternate 1985 where superheroes have previously existed. In this universe, a retired group of heroes known as the Watchmen must again cross paths when one of their own dies.
Watchmen is directed by Zack Snyder, a director whose films garner very similar reviews. These reviews usually say something along the lines of “great visuals, patchy story” and Watchmen may be the most extreme example of this.
I strongly believe that a film’s most important factor is its screenplay. It doesn’t matter how great the directing or how beautiful the cinematography. If the story is bad, the movie can’t be good. If the story is good, the movie can be good. And there were a few problems with Watchmen‘s story which slightly ruined it.
The main problem is that there is too much happening in the film. The film was 2 hours and 42 minutes long and I was hoping for the end at the 1 hour 30 minute mark.
There are moments in the film that, as stunning as they may have looked, could’ve been taken out without the story suffering. These scenes are interesting as individual scenes but as a contribution to the overall story, they don’t have much impact. This problem is enough for me to consider the story “patchy”. Now what about the “great” visuals? They’re everywhere.
Watchmen may be the greatest looking movie that I’ve ever seen. The colour, the framing, the lighting, the shadows, everything visual in this movie is incredible and you can thank Zack Snyder for that.
If there was a simple book containing photos of each scene exactly as they appear in the movie, I’d buy that book.
The soundtrack, for a film set in an alternate U.S.A., is great. Hearing Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ during the film’s opening credits sequence got me extremely pumped for the rest of the movie. And hearing Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower perfectly captured the mood of the Vietnam War in the scene that it played.
I’ve seen Watchmen appear on a couple of lists of the “underrated” films of this century, but I wouldn’t consider it that underrated. I’d say that the poor critical reception of this film has justification but that it’s also reasonable to like the film. If you loved the visuals and the long, detailed story, brilliant! If you disliked the film, it’s probably because of the patchy story.
Watchmen is possibly the best looking movie that I’ve ever seen and although the screenplay needed some polish, this film is a compulsory viewing for superhero fans.
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