Dave’s Note: I’m proud to introduce a new contributor to ScreenGeeks. Melissa comes to us with an impressive knowledge of film and her first piece for us is a character review of Watchmen. I’m excited to present a view of the film from someone who isn’t that familiar with the source material. Spoilers are ahead, so I’ve put the article after the jump. Enjoy!
Knowing the movie is based on a novel, I went into this already having the preconceived notion that I would be somewhat confused by the lack of information to go along with the complicated story line. Throughout most of the film, I did feel as if there was a great deal of information that was not being explained or was only explained visually, which left parts that were probably important underestimated or left out altogether. Most of the story line was not overly complicated or too hard to follow. The part that was confusing to me though was Ozymandias character as the villain and his plot against the world. He was introduced in the beginning, and although his character is undeniably unlikeable, I did not put two and two together that he was the antagonist. The ending came as a surprise because there was really no explanation of Ozymandias’ logic as to why New York being destroyed would better humanity. His character was under-explained, but I also realize he was not explained very much in the novel either, so I assume that is just a flaw in the storyline altogether.
I was very excited to see what Silk Spectre II’s role would be like. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of serious, non-sexist roles for women’s characters in comic book movies, which leaves most of the female characters to be weak and one-dimensional. Both Silk Spectre I and II were portrayed as objects of men’s desire, which the female character’s themselves embraced. I was not offended by the sexuality of the women’s characters, but I was disappointed that Laurie sexually exerted herself onto men to gain personal acceptance that she lacked from her mother, Miss Jupiter. Laurie had some of the dumbest lines in the movie from “my life is a big joke” to “I’m used to going out at 3 am and doing something stupid.” Malin Ackerman’s performance is nothing more worthy than what her character is: a sexy visual filler for the majority male audience. A stronger, more familiar actress could have made her role more powerful and interesting. However, I did appreciate her level of innocence as she played a sweet character. I was not completely disappointed with her, but she was just as stereotypical as any other. Another female character, which I felt was not emphasized as much as she could have been, Janey Slater, was stronger than both Silk Spectres, but was primarily used as Dr. Manhattan’s source of original heartbreak and separation with humanity.
One of the most undeniably worst aspects of the movie is the ludicrous Nixon character. At first, I thought Nixon looked ridiculous, which I am sure Snyder intended. However, throughout the rest of the movie, after one can get over the terrible nose, one can realize how comical Nixon’s character really is. Although he is only in a few scenes, the scenes he is in made him seem like he had no idea what he was doing as a President and lacked serious credibility and accountability. I did not feel Nixon was portrayed as if to be intended as unlikeable, just not portrayed seriously.
I liked the fast paced, racy, hold-nothing-back style. Although the movie is sexist, I thoroughly enjoyed the openly sexual content. Night Owl’s and Silk Spectre’s relationship is sweet and realistic enough to satisfy the romantic audience. I had a hard time having any sympathy for the Comedian and disliked his character from the very beginning, though I understood why he was necessary. However, Jeffery Dean Morgan played the disgusting ravish character very well. I found a lot of humor in Rorschach, and even though he was also rather violent, he is definitely one of the more motivating, multi-dimensional characters of the film. I would have liked to have more information about Dr. Manhattan, but there was a good bit of background information on him. Although he is a main character, I did not feel much connection to his role.
I would definitely vouch for this as a must-see in theaters and I plan on seeing it at least a second time. Being a non-reader, I enjoyed this very much and think that the majority of the audience can enjoy and relate to this movie even without reading the novel. Because the novel has been turned into a movie, it will most likely trigger more people to read the novel to further understand and appreciate Watchmen. As for who watches the Watchmen, a large expecting audience will certainly be watching this.