As a co-host of the HeroBlend Podcast, I sometimes have to let the superhero loving populace in on the fact that, every now and then, there comes a big screen hero tale that I just don't give a damn about. For years, almost 10 years, actually, one of those movies has been Watchmen. I have never read the famed comic on which it's based, but I remember sitting in a dark theater and seeing the trailer for the film for the first time. I. Was. Shook. Of course, I ran to the movies when Watchmen was finally released in March of 2009, but, for some reason, as I sat there (and even once the film wrapped up), I realized that it hadn't really done anything for me. Well, thanks to my fellow HeroBlend host Eric Eisenberg, I was encouraged to head over to Amazon Prime and give a viewing to Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut, and, now, I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. So, for all you Watchmen haters out there, here are five reasons that the movie deserves another look.
Watchmen Has Opening Titles That Are Actually Useful
I'm going to start at the beginning here, because I had totally forgotten how much information Watchmen packed into the opening title sequence. After getting the film off with a very dramatic bang that sees Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Comedian unsuccessfully fight an intruder and get thrown several stories to his death, the opening goes back in time to the 1940s to give us a pretty complete rundown of where heroes in this alternate world got their start, and where they, and the country/world as a whole, are by the time the movie picks back up in 1985. It's a stunning sequence that I clearly didn't appreciate the first time around, and it's hard to not want to see more even if you only watch those few minutes of the film.
Watchmen Uses Flashbacks Better Than Many Other Movies
The screenshot above is taken from Comedian's funeral, and one of the really cool things that Watchmen does is use this somber event to get into many of the character's heads and show how they remember him. And, as is fitting for a superhero who was really a trash goblin, most of their memories of Comedian feature him doing and/or saying terrible things. So, not only do we learn more about Comedian, but we also learn more about the other heroes as they react to his behavior. Watchmen is also notable for being able to work flashbacks seamlessly into the rest of the film, so that we get glimpses of the other heroes backstories, as well. The scene where Jackie Earle Haley, as an unmasked and wrongfully imprisoned Rorschach, talks about the time he went looking for a missing kid will tell you everything you need to know about his personality.
Watchmen Has Fantastic Performances
While everyone in Watchmen does some wonderful work, from Patrick Wilson as the nerdiest superhero we'll probably ever see on screen to the aforementioned Jackie Earle Haley as a seriously no bullshit hero who needs to punish evildoers, some special attention should be focused on the man above: Jeffrey Dean Morgan. While he'd been kicking around in TV and movies since the early '90s at that point, most people would have known him as either Denny Duquette on Grey's Anatomy or John Winchester on Supernatural, two pretty stand-up guys. Well, Comedian is anything but a stand-up guy, and I wasn't kidding when I said he was a true trash goblin before his death. And, thanks to JDM, the character is filled with so much no-nonsense, I-deserve-what-I-want-when-I-want-it bravado that even as you watch him do horrible things (like kill his Vietnamese baby mama while she's still pregnant with his kid), you hate him, but also sorta don't. Really, I don't doubt that The Walking Dead would have a very different Negan had Morgan not made his mark with Comedian so many years earlier.
Watchmen Has Special Effects That Still Hold Up
Oh my. How did I not notice, the first time around, how fantastic Watchmen looks. First of all, for a moody, Zack Snyder movie, it wasn't dark and dreary at all. And, most importantly, the special effects are amazing. Sure, the Nixon makeup on actor Robert Wisden was terrible, and Matthew Goode's Ozymandias wig struggled throughout the whole film, but when it counted, Watchmen got effects right. There are a lot of said effects involved anytime we see Billy Crudup's Dr. Manhattan on screen, and it all still looks totally believable. For some stunning visuals, check out the scenes where Crudup's formerly human character becomes the god-like being, and see if you don't get all kinds of goosebumps.
Watchmen Leaned Way Into Its R Rating
Last but not least, I think you should give Watchmen another shot because it really embraced its R rating at a time when most big budget, major superhero movies were still seen as needing to be able to put very young asses in theater seats. Sure, some of that is because of the source material, but they could have gone easy on some of the aspects. Instead, we get to watch Comedian kill the mother of his unborn child, see a hot, mostly naked sex scene, watch two dogs fight over the severed foot of a dismembered little girl, glimpse a man getting his arms sawed off, and are treated to many (many, many) views of Dr. Manhattan's glowy, blue man bits. And, that's not even all the nudity, blood, gore and killing in this film. But, even with all this, it feels like these things needed to be there. Watchmen might not be as loopy as Deadpool or as somber as Logan, but without this example we might not have gotten those other R rated, soon-to-be-classic superhero films.
Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut is available right now on Amazon Prime.