Re-watched Watchmen

Watched Watchmen from

In 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.

I really think this movie was an excellent adaptation of the comic, true to the spirit of the comic genre while translating it to a new medium. It swapped in a more meaningful ending than the book and cut the unnecessary story-within-a-story pirate comic. The fight scenes are a fantastic translation of comics into video media, slowing down and nearly pausing on moments in the fight, and emphasizing the force and power of the hits. It’s blatantly gruesome in parts, and the sex scene is gratuitously long and hilariously self-mocking (the music, the flame thrower going off when she comes 🤣). Though it’s been years since I read the graphic novel, there are panels and lines it directly quotes — I recall fans being mad about the changes when it was released but this was clearly storyboarded by someone who loved the comic.

We own the DVD but no DVD player — so now we also own a digital copy on Amazon 🤷‍♀️  The DVD must be an extended cut because there were a few missing scenes in the streaming version — a little disorienting when I was expecting them, but fine without.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

2 replies on “Re-watched Watchmen”

Watchmen is a masterpiece in both mediums. The movie was so obviously a labour of love that the wave of criticism was mostly unfounded.
The ending had to be changed to appeal to a more modern, and mainstream, audience but the point is makes is the same as the comic.
While I agree that the pirate story-within-a-story was not needed for the film (it would be very difficult to translate to the screen and have it make any real sense) but I feel it is an integral part of the comic, both mirroring and juxtaposed with the main theme.

Alan Moore seems into the counterpoint narrative, which he also used in V for Vendetta. I recall the pirate story working well in the book, though I have less patience for that literary pattern than other people. I recall they did make the pirate comic into its own short, but part of what I liked about it in the book was the subplot with the newsie and the young comic fan.

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