On a whim tonight I decided to go see Watchmen. It was 5.45 and I'd just gotten off the bus after work, I was feeling somewhat aimless and not wanting to go straight home, the cinema was right there, there was a 6.15 session... I figured it was fate or something. So I bought my ticket and a beer (so civilised that my local cinema serves beer and wine!)
I really enjoyed it, but not unreservedly so. Mostly because the violence got a little much for me at times, just a tad too graphic. However, there was lots that I did love. I wasn't familiar with the premise, other than something about 'retired' superheroes.
I loved the mock archival footage and all the retro superheroes. So well done. The backstory behind the rise and fall of the 'watchmen' was clever, and put the story into a different sort of context from the usual 'superhero' story.
So many of my favourite boys are in this film. Patrick Wilson! He's no longer the lean, slightly built repressed hottie Mormon of "Angles in America", but someone more broad and solidly built (and yes, with a great ass). Nobody seems to quite do complexity and fragility/strength like the handsome Mr Wilson. Matthew Goode! Fresh from being a winsome English homo (and companion to Lord Sebastian Flyte) to being... well... blonde this time. Jeffrey Dean Morgan! So dark in this, but once he cracks that smile, and laughs that dirty chuckle. Mercy.
Billy Crudup's 'Dr Manhattan' is amazing, and it's hard to tell where the CGI/make up starts and ends. (I'm guessing the facial close ups are mostly Crudup, and the long distance massive physique/wang shots are CGI.) THE performance of the film for me though, Jackie Earl Hayley as Rorshach. OMG, until I imdb'd him I didn't place him as a well known former child actor, and one of the young teen actors from "Breaking Away". He has a fantastic presence in his Rorshach persona, but during the few scenes where he unmasks... his presence on screen crackles with intensity. Fantastic.
It has made me want to buy the original graphic novel, and I would recommend the film unless like me you have a lowish threshold for graphic screen violence.