Incidentally, I have no reservations referring to Watchmen as a comic. I don’t need to justify its use of pictures to tell a story (and the art by Dave Gibbons is magnificent) by calling it a graphic novel. Calling something a novel doesn’t make it any more valid a literary item than a comic. Have you seen most of the novels that are out there? They are derivative, uninspired trash. If African Americans can make “nigger” non-derogatory, if homosexuals can claim the terms “queer” and “gay” as their own, if punks can make the term “punk” positive, then “comic” can be acceptable terminology for sequential art narrative (as the lovely and talented Nicki Greenberg once described them). It is an art form more varied and intricate than many people realise. The problem is with people, not the terminology.
The film is not all bad. Snyder couldn’t destroy everything from the original, and what is left of Moore and Gibbon’s story makes the film enjoyable (at times). The opening credits are a great recap of what has happened in this alternate world of superheroes, even if it won’t mean much to those who haven’t read the comic. Jackie Earle Haley’s Rorschach is the standout character, and the acting is generally good, except for Matthew Goode’s Ozymandias. Rorschach (an obsessed, masked vigilante trying to clean up the streets of his city) is a much better Batman than anyone else has managed to create on film (even if he is meant to be more like The Question than Batman). Niteowl is also a better Batman than anyone else as managed to film (and at least he is like Batman in costume and accessories). The Comedian (excellently played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a better psychotic, violent madman than any Joker ever filmed as well, and he is not even meant to be the “real” villain. It’s common knowledge that films are never as good as the books they are based on, Watchmen is no different. I liked it despite all there was to hate.