WARNING: If you read this review before watching the movie, you will ruin it for yourself. You have been warned!
Wow where the fuck do I start? One of my favorite graphic novels in movie form…so this movie was a big deal to me.
First off let me say that you can tell by the way everything was filmed that Zack Snyder really respects the work. It’s a lose-lose situation here because if he deviates from the aesthetic and style of the graphic novel, then he’s a dick for changing too much of it and if it’s exactly like the graphic novel then he’s a hack because all he did was lift images/dialogue from the graphic novel which apparently takes no talent to do.
I think that for the most part, the movie stayed true to the graphic novel for as much as it could have been possible. I’m actually amazed by how much of it was like the comic and sometimes with disturbingly unflinching detail.
I’ll go into detail as to what I liked and didn’t like.
Opening Credits- It was a very clever way of giving you some backstory without spending too much actual screen time on it.
Rorschach- Such a great performance by Jackie Earle Haley. The movie is worth watching based on his performance alone. There is not one thing I disliked about his performance. Although I always imagined Rorschach to have an accent, Haley did such a great job that I didn’t care.
The Comedian- I absolutely loved Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s depiction of him….it was spot on! Aside from Rorschach, it was my favorite performance. The scene when Nite Owl and The Comedian clear out a riot and the scene where he’s in Vietnam are some of my favorites (I can’t believe they showed him kill the girl he impregnated).
Imagery- I liked the way Zack Snyder filmed this. It had a similar “cinematic flair” that 300 had before it, but not as intrusive or in your face. Everything looked as I thought it would.
Dr. Manhattan’s “retelling” of his origin- This was the scene I was most worried about them butchering because it’s one of my favorites. Luckily, I think they nailed it for the most part. It’s just as I read it when I first read the GN and really got the feel and tone of it right.
You know what? I practically liked everything about the movie. From the action scenes (which although greatly elaborated on compared to the graphic novel, still bad ass), to the acting, to the pacing…everything felt right…except a few things.
The ending- Let’s get this out of the way first. Although I didn’t like the fact that they changed the ending, it wasn’t the complete aberration I expected it to be. They almost had it right (as right as you can have it while changing the ending I mean) but there were a few things I felt they should have done to make it 100% acceptable.
First off, they should have shown the energy detonating in several cities around the world, not just New York. This would have made Dr. Manhattan a common enemy whether the USSR liked it or not. That makes a lot of sense to me (within the context of the ending we got), and would explain why the major powers around the world would have something at stake when joining forces with the United States to stop Dr. Manhattan. If that was done, it would have made me be completely ok with the ending. Let’s face it everyone, having it be a fucking squid would have made just about everyone check out as far as caring about the story.
Nite Owl’s reaction to Rorschach’s death- Yes I expect Nite Owl to completely lose his shit when he was killed but the timing was all wrong. The way it should have been timed is that he walks out right as it is happening.
Otherwise having him watch the whole exchange between Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan (you could see what was coming based on what they were saying), watch him get killed, and then react the way he did seemed silly.
No Hollis Mason death- Really? This could have been done with one quick scene. Without that scene it seems like all of Mason’s scenes/references were just randomly added to the story with little reason.
Ozymandias: I did the right thing didn’t I? it all worked out in the end.
Dr. Manhattan: ‘In the end’? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.”
They completely butchered this line…to the extent that they didn’t even have the proper characters say it and simply had someone say “I bet he’d respond with”. 😦 Not a big deal, but that was one of my favorite lines from the graphic novel.
Overall I really liked the movie. There’s one thing that no one can say about this movie and it’s that it shat on the original work because it kept most of the GN’s core themes intact. In fact, I’ll be looking forward to seeing it again and will more than likely get the Bluray release of it. It wasn’t as good as the graphic novel, but most of these kinds of things never are.