why Cranky is in pain
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Click for full sized poster


Starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson
Screenplay by David Hayter, Alex Tse
Based on the Graphic Novel co-created by Dave Gibbons
Directed by Zack Snyder
website: Watchmenmovie.com


THIS IS IMPORTANT: For every parental unit who only hears that Watchmen is based on a comic book, do not bring your 4 year old to the theater!!! This film is rated R for multiple reasons -- gory violence, full nudity (male and female) and lotsa 4-letter words. No kidlets!!!

The unnamed co-creator of the "Watchmen" comic is Alan Moore, who wanted his name off this work because, basically, he and his other comic book works have been savaged by the movie types who grabbed hold of 'em. Fanboys already know the major change in Watchmen, and we're not going there because you shouldn't need the source material to comprehend the movie.  A whole messa minor tweaks kick the sex and violence up just a notch from the  original collected novel (fanboys say it with me: "one of TIME Magazine's 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th Century."] We'll let someone else on the 'net do the inevitable line by line comparison. It's inevitable. <g>

IN SHORT: Serious move. Not a comic book. No one under 15. Period. [Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language. 163 minutes]

So . . . what if there was a world in which costumed heroes were real? What would happen if one truly superhuman appeared among them. Could armageddon be avoided? Hurm. . .

Once there was a gathering heroes called "Minutemen."  Mostly geeks or outcasts, with or without fetishes, all of 'em dressed up in brightly colored costumes to "fight" crime. Some, like Silk Spectre aka "Sally Jupiter" (Carla Gugino) were an inspiration to the troops fighting WWII.  Most died sloppy deaths, as you'll see in the film. For a later generation, a new team of Watchmen kept order during the turbulent 1970s and its police riots, ensuring a never-ending string of terms for president Richard Nixon. Sometime in the early 1980s, the Watchmen were disbanded by an order of law called the Keene Act. Which brings us to now. 1985.

The oil crisis is peaking. Relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union have deteriorated to the point of  war. That kind of War means nuclear annihilation. Paranoia levels are at record highs. What's that got to do with heroes? Well . . . that's just background to the story. Earth of 1985 faces certain doom. Unless someone (or something) heroic can save it. Heroes? Don't make me laugh. Watchmen is no disposable popcorn movie. For those that remember what the 80s were like for real, this alternate reality is about as close to  "real" as any other film. It just happens to have costumed characters at its center. And it goes like this . . .

With public careers long in the bag, former heroes, like the Minuteman called The Comedian [aka Eddie Blake  (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)] have gone legit as government operatives and let their guard down. That makes them easy targets. Even as it happens, Blake sees his murder as "inevitable". What he knows, but we won't until the very end of the film, is that everybody is being played. And so a conspiracy to murder super heroes begins to be revealed . . .

At least according to the sociopath Watchman called Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley). Rorschach, who ignored the Keene Act, searches out his fellow former Watchmen after Blake's murder, muttering "conspiracy". First up is Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson). Dreiberg inherited a fortune. Created all the tech that the Watchmen used. Now he does little but spend one evening a week drinking beer with the Hollis Mason (Clint Carleton), the Minuteman Nite Owl. Dreiberg listens to Rorschach, points out that one murder does not make a "conspiracy" and, while sympathetic, wants little contact with his former partner.

In short order we cross paths with other Watchmen: Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias (Matthew Goode) is "the smartest man in the world". He went public before the Keene Act and merchandized his celebrity into a corporate organization that made him the richest man in the world. As the film begins, he and his scientists are utilizing the superhuman powers of one "Dr. Manhattan" to create a never ending energy supply that, theoretically, will eliminate the political tensions of this world. That doesn't stop an assassin from getting a shot off at Veidt, who reacts by fleeing to his laboratories in Antarctica. His own personal "fortress of solitude," so to speak.

Then there is Jon Osterman, the aforementioned Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup). A lab accident forcibly evolved Osterman into the only true super powered being on the planet; big and blue-skinned and almost as powerful as a god. Osterman -- "Doc Manhattan" is a name assigned for press relations -- won the war in Vietnam single-handed. His powers are the only thing keeping the Soviets in check. Only his relationship with girlfriend Laurie Juspeczyk, aka Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman) helps keep him in touch with his humanity. For those keeping track, Laurie's mom is the aforementioned Minuteman original. Laurie's decision to return to her proper surname is a dig at, and a declaration of independence from, a mom who forced her into the hero game.

Laurie has other reasons not to care about the murder of Edward Blake. You'll have to discover that in the film. Trust us, it's good.

While Rorschach mutters conspiracy, he finds that none of his former partners want much to do with the nutcase in need of a bath that mutters hurm to himself underneath the swarming patterns on his mask. Rorschach pummels the once most evil  bad guy ever, Moloch (Matt Frewer), seeking more information. What he gets is a murder rap, an arrest record and a jail cell.

With all word of the conspiracy locked behind bars; with  Dr. Manhattan run off the planet -- he settles on Mars -- the situation deteriorates, Dan and Laurie begin to see the pattern. The pair fire up the flying ship nicknamed "Archie," break their teammate out of jail and head for the Antarctic to pick the brains, as it were, of their former teammate. And, of course, save the world.

Again, Watchmen is a totally different kind of comic book film than Spider-Man. If there were no costumed heroes in it, it would be lauded as a brilliant conspiracy slash murder-mystery. But since it is from a comic book, some in our audience were waiting for the bad guy in a costume to show up. Well, sorta kinda. Watchmen is too grounded in reality, such as it is, to do that. So, no cheering the good guys at the end. But it is an eye catching film with a much, much better than average story.

We could be snide and diss director Zack Snyder for building a career adapting comic books, which are already storyboards in their original form, to film. We won't because he does it very well. With Watchmen he takes a four hundred page novel that was too dense to be properly filmed, and  made a film which works properly and makes total sense. It does that by sticking like glue to the original Moore/Gibbons novel, lifting huge scenes and sections of dialog out nearly verbatim and keeping Moore's original soundtrack notes - this would be a good time for those who haven't read the novel to go out and get a copy to read. Well, after you see the film.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Watchmen, he would have paid . . .


A good hunk of the material that has been left out of the main adaptation has been adapted and will be available on DVDs later in the month.  Do we need to comment on the genius of casting Matt Frewer in a film adapting a comic work? Brilliant.

Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic DVD animates Dave Gibbons' original comic art and is available now. Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood DVD, which adapts or re-presents other material important as background to the original story, is available on 3/24

amazon com link Click to buy films by Zack Snyder
Click to buy films starring Billy Crudup
Click to buy films starring Carla Gugino
Click to buy films starring Matthew Goode
Click to buy films starring Jackie Earle Haley
Click to buy films starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Click to buy films starring Malin Akerman
Click to buy films starring Patrick Wilson

buy movie posters

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995  -  2015   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.