FOR THE LOVE OF FILM: Watchmen

watchmen

For The Love Of Film is a weekly column from film nerd and lover of all movies Justin Proper. Sometimes you need some help to figure out how to enjoy movies, and we are here to help! No longer will you need to fear movie night because your friends have no taste in film. With this column you will be able to love even the worst gems to ever grace the silver screen.

I love Zack Snyder movies. It is a simple fact. The Dawn Of The Dead remake was one of the first times I had been excited about a zombie movie in high school, and 300 completely blew me away. His style and attention to detail are what set him apart from other directors, and that style is often imitated and replicated. When I heard he was tackling a movie based on (in my opinion) the best comic book story ever I could not be more excited. When Watchmen came out I was not disappointed, but a lot of people I knew were.

Those people couldn’t be more wrong. 

I am very aware that Watchmen did well with critics (better than 300 even). That should disqualify it from appearing in this column, but there is something about Watchmen and how it resonated with viewers that is very polarizing. Despite its critical acclaim I have plenty of friends (some of them critics as well) who cannot stand Watchmen. I always try to defend this movie, so it seems very fitting to put it in For The Love Of Film, as the average viewer did not enjoy it. I think I figured out why.

It’s because they hate smiley face buttons. 

For those unfamiliar, Watchmen is a series of comics that were created by the legendary Alan Moore in the late 80’s. It is not your traditional superhero comic series, but more of a “what if” scenario with an alternate history that focuses on the politics involved in the cold war. The comics were massively successful and remain in the top tier of the graphic novel pantheon to this day. The plot is intricate and lengthy so I wont go into it here. If you are really curious you can go to wikipedia and read the plot summary, or just read the rest of this column and go watch the movie.

Then you can see this bad ass take that shotgun to some protesters. Take that, hippies!

There are two main reasons people did not enjoy Watchmen. The main complaint with the film is that it is too long. Too drawn out. Too boring. I have a serious problem with this complaint. First off, yes, the movie is long. The directors cut of the film clocks in around three hours. When you consider that most movies are around half of that length it seems like a reasonable complaint. However it is this long because Zack Snyder included as much of the source material as he feasibly could. Usually when a book becomes a movie people say they wish it was longer so it could include more of the story. Watchmen did just that and people hate it for being long. Not only that, but it never is slow or boring. Whenever the film starts to slow it picks right back up with some amazingly stylistic action.

One of these people is about to get the shit kicked out of them. Spoiler: it’s not the superheroes.

The other reason I hate to hear people say it is too long is because everyone loves those damn hobbit movies where all they do is wander around for eight fucking hours. Everyone loves those stupid hairy footed assholes and those movies ARE long and boring. Watchmen has different perspectives and voices. It never feels stale. Each character tells more and more of the story, switching up how it is told.

Dr. Manhattan’s segment on Mars is an existential masterpiece.

I think the other reason people were upset with the length and pacing of Watchmen is they expected it to be a popcorn superhero movie, but it is not that kind of movie in the least. It is a hard R rated sci-fi crime thriller. Those expecting a movie in the vein of The Dark Knight or the Spider-Man trilogy came to the wrong movie. The source material was not that kind of comic book (which is why it is usually referred to as a graphic novel) so of course it would not be that kind of movie.

You wont see these sweet retro costumes or a superhero fight in Vietnam in a Marvel movie anytime soon.

There is another reason people had a problem with Watchmen that I did not want to bring up, but it seems that I have to. Even another critic from Under The Gun mentioned this problem (I wont name them to protect their dignity) and it is one that infuriates me. Dr. Manhattan is naked a lot in this movie. It makes sense, the man can see through time and has the ability to manipulate matter on a molecular level (he is practically a god) so of course he does not give a shit about people seeing his dick. Seeing his magnificent blue penis bothers some people (it is even giant at one point when Dr. Manhattan is 40 feet tall) but those people need to grow the fuck up. It is a dick. Big deal, all guys have them. No one seemed to complain that you see a ton of Fassbender cock in Shame but if you paint it blue suddenly it becomes a reason to dismiss an entire movie.

Deal with it.

Watchmen is a fantastic film that is disliked for some stupid reasons. If you did not enjoy it the first time you saw it I urge you to watch it again with more of an understanding what it really is. Feel free to tell me how wrong you think I am in the comment section below or you can harass me on Twitter, I have plenty of free time to argue with you about it.

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