2009’s Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder is a masterpiece. Considered a nearly impossible project to adapt for from the comics, Snyder and WB had a heavy weight on their shoulders to produce a film worthy of its name. In my opinion, Watchmen delivered in spades.
As a fan of comic book films, Watchmen falls into one of my favorites. My taste has always been versatile and flexible, especially when it comes down to films. I owe a lot of these traits to this film. Before Snyder’s Watchmen, I had a very limited idea of what a comic book movie could or should be. At the time, Marvel had not blown the doors open of their cinematic universe and DC had just released what can be considered the Magnum Opus of comic book films in The Dark Knight. When it came to Watchmen, one of the most celebrated graphic novels of all time, I thought to myself: How could one possibly bring life to such an unprecedented start? And should it even be adapted to screens?
Once I saw Snyder’s film, the answer was loud and clear. Yes, it should. Snyder was committed to bringing this epic idea to life. His love and dedication for the award-winning material showed in his work. Even with its long duration, (even longer when considering the Director’s cut), watching the film felt like an experience unlike any other in the genre. Many shots were panel by panel recreations of Moore’s great work. Filled with visually eye pleasing shots and pacing. The story remained quite faithful to Alan Moore’s and accomplished similarly as well. Which is to say, Moore’s Watchmen changed the perception of what comic book can be and Snyder’s Watchmen has done the same for comic book films. It breaks the conventional mold of the superhero movies.
Watchmen, to me, was groundbreaking. It defied the common nature of adaptations and did its job. It honored the story, the characters, and many of the complex themes and social commentary that Moore had in his original piece. I personally encountered many fans who hadn’t read Moore’s novel and came back to it after watching Snyder’s adaption of it. Attracting viewers to read the original story and be intrigued enough to pick up a copy after 2009 speaks to Zack’s attention to detail to make people be in awe.
Now, 8 years later, Watchmen is considered a cult classic. A part of me wonders if Watchmen was a little too ahead of its time. With the Comic Book film golden age largely coming after it, many did not give it a chance due to it’s lesser known characters. If you haven’t watched yet, I ask you to give it a chance. It is nice to see Watchmen start to get praise from other directors and writers in the industry as a true masterpiece and a standout film worthy to be placed next to the original graphic novel. As we wait for HBO’s take on Watchmen, hopefully, we can take a second to look back and realize how special Zack Snyder’s vision was.