You cannot watch Watchmen without having first read the comic.
If you have read and liked Watchmen, then you'll love the movie. If you can't get through the first two chapters of Watchmen without thinking "this is too much work for a comic"... well then, save the eight bucks and go buy some socks instead as this is definitely a movie for fans only.
I won't bother with hiding the spoilers then, since I expect most people who actually read my blog probably won't have watched the movie or read the comic (MOST, I SAID MOST!)
Despite being warned by Wired.com's mostexcellentcoverageofthemovie, where they all but said OMG BE READY TO DIE WITH LOVE (my interpretation), my breath was stolen away by the verisimilitude of the opening scenes of the movie - not just the historical flashbacks, which were awesome (I was particularly entranced with the sad, sad picture of Dollar Bill shot dead by the revolving door, errant cape flaccid with shame) - but the opening scene where the smiley face badge with the blood splodge was in the drain, and the camera then panning upward to Blake's shattered apartment window - just like the comic.
Here's a lousy attempt at a summary of what the comic's about: it's about World War III, but set in an alternate universe where Nixon's the President (three terms and STILL counting due to a repeal of electoral law), where the Americans won the Vietnam War, and where Russia's about to invade Afghanistan. The USA wants to intervene, but to do so would provoke the two superpowers into MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction - by nuclear warheads. Meanwhile, in the USA, there are these bunch of masked vigilantes, who each developed independently, and later consolidated themselves into a group called the Minutemen (not Watchmen.)
This was in the past (1940s), and in "present day" 1985, the Minutemen had disbanded, and the Keene Act enacted, which outlawed masked vigilantism. One of them, The Comedian, was killed, which sparked off Rorschach's interest and narrative, investigating his murder. The movie then brings us deeper and deeper into the investigation, until the final horror is revealed.
The plot thickens and thins, and thickens and thickens again - mask upon mask upon mask. Even the comic is layered with graphics and pseudo-journals and books and other paraphernalia.
Apart from the excellent visuals that the movie makes (Archie! Costumes! Blue Manhattan!) the casting was just brilliant. I like that they didn't have any big name stars in the show - it made all the difference, I think. And it's not exactly the typical hero show anyway - three kids sitting behind me walked out after the halfway point (just when it was getting interesting) - it's more like an anti-hero story. Very heartbreaking and sad: and all carried by excellent actors/actresses.
Just like the comic. That's why this is for fans only. You'll only appreciate the fact that the comic really comes to life on celluloid for you, if you've read the book. The artistry in making the movie, the director of photography, the brilliance of Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach/Walter Kovacs - all making this movie just like the comic.
I watched it, having no idea what the Watchman were. Liked the action, just not the frame-by-frame approach or Ode to Quentin Tarantino type of graphic violence. Otherwise, blonde me loves Silk Spectre's costume, both versions!
Stuff I'd Like
Borobudor Pyramids, Egypt
Boro Boro Cambodia (Ankor Wat)
Bali Great Ocean Road
Maldives to DIVE!
Great Barrier Reef to DIVE!
See a penguin in the wild
Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil