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Review #167: Watchmen

In an alternate 1938, a group of costumed Superheroes appear. Over the years America wins Vietnam, the crisis between America and the Ruskies is in favour of the Americans and thanks to a particular all powerful Superhero, President Nixon is reelected all the way to 1985.
Eventually though, Superheroes and masked vigilantes are outlawed... causing them to go into hiding and lead normal, humdrum lives.

When one of these hiding heroes is murdered in more than odd circumstances, a brutally violent vigilante who refuses to go into hiding called Rorschach, investigates the murder and uncovers something much more disturbing in the process...

... and he must call upon the remaining hiding heroes to help stop a fate that could end in the deaths of billions.

Another slightly odd movie for my thread, Watchmen is a Superhero movie with a difference.
For a start, it doesn't shy away from stylish violence, blood, gore, sexual violence and sheer outright action.
It's also extremely creative and original in the writing and plot departments.

It's certainly not the average Superhero movie in terms of look and set-style either. It's dark, brooding and filed with some great sets and backdrops for the heroes.
Then there's the more fantastical side of things. It's highly comicbook with some of the violence and some of the little gadgets and items that the heroes use, which gives even more variety to the movie compared to other comicbook movies.

One very special thing about the screenplay and plot is the history that it builds during the running time. It adds much more depth to the story that many other films, of any kind, really lack.

The acting is also top notch.
Patrick Wilson is an amazingly normal guy who becomes something different when he gets the suit on. He's a hero with a difference and doesn't fail to capture the audience.
Malin Ackerman also impresses as the sexy Silk Spectre 2. She has an other-worldly quality about her that's rare in Supergirls.

Jackie Earl Hallie as Rorschach isn't actually seen a great deal during the running time but makes a massive impression when he pops up from time to time. His natural onscreen presence is simply awe inspiring.

Billy Crudup as Dr Manhattan is the standout role though. Again, he's not on screen a massive amount but the effects that were smothered onto Crudup's brilliant performance are another essence of originality that makes him shine over all the other heroes. He's also pretty spooky in a calm kinda way.

Backing up the ensemble cast are Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino and Matthew Goode.

The action is also utilised well. It's used to enhance the story really, rather than just pointless fisty-cuffs and bashing pointless heads together. Rorschach in prison is a highlight too.
Even so, it's stylish, doesn't hold back with the blood and teeth and is extremely well choreographed.
Even with some of the more fantastical battles and effects used with Dr Manhattan, they're believeable.


All in all, next to Nolan's Batman, it's close to being one of the best hero type films. Hard to get into to start with due to not being a 'regular' Superhero movie, but give it a go, it's simply a lot of fun with flashy effects backed up by a fantastically original story.
Being totally honest, it's that good I'm kicking myself for not putting it into my Top 100.

My rating: 94%