Editor's note: Doug absolutely missed the boat on the group review of Watchmen, but he's a nice guy, so we let it slide. I really liked this movie. I never read the comic, but the thing that hooked me right away was the fact that I didn't know who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. There was a little intrigue, and I dig that. By the end of the movie that intrigue had turned into an appreciation of the fact that the good guys were the bad guys, and that’s what I really dig about this movie. The expectation that a super hero is supposed to save the day, save the innocent, or at least a baby or two, goes right out the window in Watchmen. In fact, more often than not these heroes are killing the innocent, ruining everyone’s day, and murdering babies, either with intent or inadvertently. I guess you’ve got to see it all to believe it.
So do I just really enjoy mean, evil, things that kill babies? No. But I do like it when I’m a little surprised in the movie theater. I’m tired of the same old predictable crap, and Watchmen surprised me in a lot of ways. I also appreciate it when something seems to hit close to the mark of truth, and for me, this movie definitely does that in it’s own unique way. In Watchmen, the most powerful people are flawed, exhibit terrible judgment, and are at times downright crazy. Sure there’s a few folks that might qualify as a little more noble than all of that. But even the most noble of these heroes are either unwilling or just too weak to stop their murderous, more powerful counterparts from harming each other and/or the rest of the world. So, kind of a bummer then, huh? Well not necessarily. If you always want the good guy to save the day, the nice guy to get the girl, and the happy ending to put a smile on your face before you leave the theater, then don’t waste your time with Watchmen. It might not be your cup of tea. The lines between the good guys and bad guys just aren’t as easy to see in this movie. If you don’t mind being a little confused, or having to figure things out a little though, this might be more for you.
This movie seems to ask us to reconsider our notion of heroes and villains, and by default, how super hero movies can function. There’s a whole lot of subtext too, and I think that at its heart, Watchmen is offering us a little commentary on extremely powerful people and what they’re capable of. The movie takes place in alternate America, where Tricky Dick has been re-elected for the umpteenth time, and a climate of fear and the constant threat of war keeps the general populace in check. Sound at all familiar? If you don’t mind having to think about all that, and wouldn't mind something a little different as far as super hero movies go, then this movie might be just the ticket.