Watchmen (2009)

Director : Zack Snyder

The setting is an alternative history 1985. The US and Russia are on the brink of a nuclear war and we are looking in at the life of six former superheroes called the Watchmen. President Nixon talks about the agressions of Russia, and the political talk shows comment that the presence of Dr. Manhattan still guarantees peace.

An assassin breaks in and kills the Comedian. The remaining Watchmen gather together to see what is going on. Dr. Manhattan who was in a nucleus accident, the only one with superpowers, can control matter. Ozymandias is the world’s smartest man. The Nite Owl is a master of technology. Rorshach is a man who talks with a film noir voice and sees patterns in things that other cannot see. Silk Spectre II, is the daughter of the original Silk Spectre and the lover of Dr. Manhattan.

In 1940 the group posed together in costumes as the Minutemen. We then see the end of WWII and then a retirement party for Sally, the taking away of Mothman in a straight jacket, the murder of Silhouette, Dr. Manhattan shaking hands with President Kennedy, and the shooting of President Kennedy by the Comedian and the Watchmen taking a picture of themselves in 1964. And this was all happened in the first five minutes of the movie. Much of the story is told in flashbacks to the Watchmen's earlier years.

The original Nite Owl tells his successor how they originally got together to fight crime. The Watchmen have been retired by President Nixon who feared their growing power. They have gone on with their lives. Rorshach visits Daniel (Nite Owl) to give him the news about the Comedian.

Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), the world's smartest man has revealed his identity to the world and is making money off of his image. Dan visits him to talk about Rorshach's theory that someone may be hunting the Watchmen. Rorshach visits the god-ke Dr. Manhattan and Laurie (Silk Spectre) to tell him of his theory. Dr. Manhattan is working with Adrian to solve the energy crisis - maybe war can be averted.

In flashbacks we see Comedian doing some really bad things. Killing a Vietnamese woman, trying to rape Sally, shooting protesters. He was not a good guy. Laurie leaves Dr. Manhattan because he has become so detached. Because of all the pressures on earth Dr. Manhattan heads to Mars. Next someone tries to kill Adrian and then Rorshach gets set up and is jailed by the police. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre take Archie (his owl plane) out on a mission, they miss the action. They then decide to go break out Rorshach.

Dr. Manhattan brings Laurie to Mars and has her ask him to save mankind, which he is reluctant to do. Nite Owl and Rorshach find out that Ozymandias is behind everything - he wants to rule the world. They go up to Veidt's Antartic retreat, where Ozymandias soon subdues them. He admits all that he had done. He killed the Comedian because he discovered what he was up to. He was able to sisable Dr. Manhattan through subtle tricks. He plans to kill millions in a nuclear war with the aim of keeping the world from totally destroying itself. Veidt has been able to replicate Dr. Manhattan's power and he uses it to kill millions and he then uses it to try to kill Dr. Manhattan. Dr. Manhattan is too powerful though and captures Adrian. But as predicted the US and Russia retreat from war and unite and Veidt feels that he has saved the world, and Dr. Manhattan understands. Dr. Manhattan kills Rorshach to keep him from telling what happened and to preserve the peace.

In his 4 star review Roger Ebert says: "That level of symbolism is coiling away beneath all superheroes. What appeals with Batman is his humanity; despite his skills, he is not supernormal. Watchmen brings surprising conviction to these characters as flawed and minor gods, with Dr. Manhattan possessing access to godhead on a plane that detaches him from our daily concerns — indeed, from days themselves. In the film’s most spectacular scene, he is exiled to Mars, and in utter isolation reimagines himself as a human, and conjures (or discovers? I’m not sure) an incredible city seemingly made of crystal and mathematical concepts. This is his equivalent to 40 days in the desert, and he returns as a savior."

A really good, intelligent superhero movie. Beautifully filmed, written and acted with a fantastic musical score. A long movie, but I wish it was longer. Too gory for young children though.