A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, the film is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching the Watchmen?
Is it just me or was this film really, really long? I must admit I was very impressed with the highly polished and stylised scenes and score, there was clearly a lot of effort put into getting it right and breaking moulds. I was also very impressed that I was left struggling to understand everything that was going on instead of being led by the nose through the plot, despite the plot wandering a little. At least I could go back and watch it again safe in the knowledge that the interpretation of scenes could change or I could see things in a different light, unlike most Hollywood super hero films.
As for the characters I was completely surprised by their flawed personas, humanity or lack of. Probably this is down to not having seen or heard of the Watchmen before the film so I didn’t have a clue what to expect. A really pleasant and refreshing surprise. There was also an unquestionable depth to the experience thanks to being given each characters view of their powers and experiences and the conclusion. It attempts to interpret the merits of heroes and villains, presenting a spectrum of values and morals. This alone probably lifts the film above the rest of the dark and broody comic book films.
Worth watching but watch out it’s a long one!