163 min. minutes | Rated R
You can't explain the plot of Watchmen (in a world on the verge of nuclear Armageddon, a band of retired superheroes gathers together to avenge a friend’s murder) without doing the book a disservice. This is because there are two remarkable aspects to Watchmen, and the plot isn't one of them. First, it's a marvel of symmetry, and that intricate structure amplifies the story, but in copying it, director Zach Snyder has produced an oddly paced film—the inevitable time constraints smear out the symmetry. Second, Watchmen the comic deconstructed the superhero genre in such a profound way that the best writers are still shaking its influence. For this to be a truly great adaptation, it would have to render every other superhero movie silly and small in comparison. It decidedly does not. Yes, the 163-minute running time passes quickly, and the special effects are beautiful, and if it were any other superhero movie, it would be a serviceable bit of eye candy. Because it's called Watchmen, though, it's got to be considered a failure.
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