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Watchmen

This lengthy adaptation of the highly acclaimed superhero epic—which many consider the greatest graphic novel—remains faithful to its source material, retaining most of the complex storytelling, stunning visuals, heady themes, and R-rated content.
Watchmen
Our Rating
3½ Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
R (for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity, and language)
Directed By
Zack Snyder
Run Time
2 hours 42 minutes
Cast
Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley
Theatre Release
March 06, 2009

Legions of fans who have read Watchmen over the years already know they want to see this long awaited film adaptation. But for the sake of the uninitiated, let's make something perfectly clear: this is not your average, straightforward, family-friendly superhero movie.

For sure, it's got plenty of caped crusader action, but not the tame "Biff! Bam! Boom!" variety common to Saturday morning fare. The graphic violence is surrounded by a labyrinthian plot packed with satire and social commentary that oftentimes blurs good and evil into a complicated mixture of gray. Those who felt last year's The Dark Knight was too intense for its PG-13 rating may want to stay away from this one; Watchmen relishes in its R rating because there's no way to tone down its adult content while remaining true to the source material.

In other words, this film represents yet another example of the contrast between a comic book and a graphic novel. The difference should now be clear after Sin City, 300, V for Vendetta, Wanted, and Chris Nolan's Batman films, all adaptations of popular graphic novels incorporating complex stories, heady concepts, adult themes, and stunning visuals. These are indeed visual novels with mature content, giving equal weight to printed word and images—for that reason, it's a wonder that movies have only recently turned to graphic novels for ideas.

Ask any comic geek for their pick of the greatest graphic novel of all time, and most of them will tell you it's Watchmen. Written nearly 25 years ago, the groundbreaking story would later earn writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons a Hugo Award (the highest honor in sci-fi literature). Name your favorite literary classic—Watchmen is considered the equivalent among ...

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