Now, the slavish devotion to a twenty-four-year-old comic book series was not altogether a bad thing. For one thing, the source material is frequently praised as the best comic series ever. Zach Snyder did an admirable job of translating the intricate plot and unique setting to the screen. There is an illustrated, comic book palate to the film, reminiscent of Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy, without indulging in camp. Some of the costumes, especially those of the earlier Watchmen, look silly and cartoonish. From a fan's perspective, this is not a bad thing, as it demonstrates loyalty to the comic.
By no means did the movie faithfully recreate every scene and moment from the comic series. Much of the backstory, such as the Keene Act and the original masked heroes plot was removed or drastically condensed. The comic within a comic, Tales of the Black Freighter, was completely dropped, while the ultimate plan of the "villain" was dramatically rewritten. This might seem like blasphemy to the faithful, but these changes generally are benign. The fight sequences are all extended and quite good. One or two of the fights are the best I've seen in a comic book movie.
The acting was generally great. The real star of the show was Jacky Earl Haley, as Rorschach. Patrick Wilson's Nite Owl and Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Comedian are both fantastic roles. The only real acting weak spot for me was the lip-synching for Dr. Manhattan. Speaking of Dr. Manhattan, there is a lot of blue penis in the movie. For those who have never read the comic, Dr. Manhattan is a glowing, blue, naked superhero, and he is frequently naked. Snyder has decided not to use the Austin Powers conveniently obscured nudity trick. This leaves the audience with more frontal male nudity than any other R-rated film of which I am aware. The overly prudish should steer clear, but this is not a film about glowing blue penises, and it would be a disservice to treat it as if it were.
As the comic satirized the genre of superhero comics, the movie tries to satirize superhero movies. There are visual references to Batman and Robin, the low-point of the genre. The movie does not succeed to the same degree that the book does. I would recommend this movie without reservation to everybody who read and enjoyed the book. I would also recommend it to anyone with an interest in comic-book movies. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and plan to see it again soon. Who watches Watchmen? I do, and so should you.