Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ landmark series Watchmen is considered one of the greatest comic books of all time. That comic book was made into a film in 2009 by controversial director Zack Snyder. There are those who believe the hyper-stylized 300 counts among the greatest comic book adaptations of all time while others are of the school of thought that Snyder should never again be let behind the camera because of his -other- track record, referring to Sucker Punch (2011), Justice League (2017) and Batman v Superman (2016).
Watchmen received a polarizing reaction from both audiences and critics. Some critics gave it overwhelmingly positive reviews for the dark and unique take on the superhero genre, the cast, and the visual effects; others derided it for the same reasons, as well as the R rating, the running time, and it’s narrative for being too confusing to follow.
Directed by Zack Snyder and based on the 1986–87 DC Comics limited series of the same name by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The movie stars an ensemble cast of Malin Åkerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson.
The film is a dark satirical and dystopian take on the superhero genre, set in an alternate history in the year 1985 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, as a group of mostly retired American superheroes investigates the murder of one of their own before uncovering an elaborate and deadly conspiracy, while their moral limitations are challenged by the complex nature of the circumstances.
In choosing the music, director Zach Snyder was often being faithful to Alan Moore’s Watchmen, which contains snippets of lyrics and references to many of the songs that now appear on the film’s soundtrack. “Watchmen” is peppered with musical cliches and some great tracks, including “The Sounds of Silence” at the funeral (the Paul Simon song which was written after JFK’s death), Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” Leonard Cohen’s beautiful but overused “Hallelujah” and “All Along the Watchtower” (the Hendrix version). The music during the birth of Doctor Manhattan is particularly good and makes for an even more captivating scene.
It is perhaps the most ambitious element of Alan Moore‘ and Dave Gibbons’s story (and Snyder’s retelling of it) is the birth of Doctor Manhattan, the godlike figure who provides the Americans with their presumption of supremacy in the Cold War. From behind layers of CGI, Billy Crudup‘s implacably calm, modulated presence provides the basis for an immensely powerful character who is starting to come adrift in the world of man, a world he no longer feels any attachment to. It is probably one of the most famous images in all of comics: The exploding and reassembling skeleton and flesh of Doctor Manhattan. He is becoming something more than human, something much much more powerful. And the sequence following, as he turns up again and again, before reappearing as the naked blue dude we know and love, appearing full force in the middle of a crowded cafeteria, Manhattan’s eerie, floating presence, if not quite enough to inspire the religious terror of which Weaver later speaks, it does make for an impressive (re)introduction to the being formerly known as Osterman.