My short description of Watchmen is this, it’s a long movie for such a simple story. The basic premise is that super heroes, particularly one god-like super hero, helped us win Vietnam and by 1985 America is a dystopian society in which Richard Nixon is our three term President. It’s decided that super heroes are too powerful, and congress passes a bill forcing them into retirement. Someone then begins murdering these retirees for heretofore unknown reasons. Meanwhile, America is on the brink of nuclear war with Russia.
The opening credits are a gorgeous alternate history montage that shows the rise and fall of super heroes, but after the first hour things start getting flat. Yes, the film depicts a morally bereft dystopian society. Yes, the “heroes” are broken, emotionally scarred. Unfortunately, a post Cold War dystopia is no longer a new idea, nor is it particularly scary these days. Unfortunately, we’ve seen fallen heroes and anti-heroes, but we’ve seen them done better. Watchmen’s heroes are very predictable in their disfunction. Visually, the film is definitely excellent, but again, it’s absolutely nothing new. If I’m going to sit in a theater for almost three hours, I don’t want a bunch of old ideas packaged in CGI I’ve seen a thousand times.9 comments
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