Book to movie review: Watchmen

Everyone has that one friend who will always comment “the book was better” if they have the option of saying it.

Well I’m always that friend. Mostly because my friends don’t read so I’m the only one who can take that very controversial stance.

But let’s talk about movie adaptations. Most of the time they suck, the rest of the time they’re ‘meh’ and one in a thousand is faithful and good. Starting this week, I’m going to talk about movies and how they stack up to their original mediums (in my opinion)

Lets start off with the one that’s most recent in my memory: Watchmen

I finished reading the graphic novel last week, and the day after, I rewatched the movie. Fun little side note about this movie: I first watched the movie when it came out, and I was 11. THIS IS NOT A SUITABLE MOVIE FOR AN 11 YEAR OLD, and I was also watching it with my mother who for some reason didn’t turn it off. Easily the most uncomfortable movie experience I’ve ever had.

Watchmen is a graphic novel written by Alan Moore from 1986-87. It takes place in an alternate universe where vigilantes changed the course of american history after world war 2. Thats the basic premise but one of the interesting things about this series is something which we kind of take for granted now, but was unique at the time. Except for Dr. Manhattan, none of the characters have super powers and none of them are wholly innocent of good people. Traditionally comic book heroes are supposed to represent an ideal. Superman fights for justice. He can do no wrong because he has a strong moral compass. Superman is lawful good and all his villains are chaotic evil. In this book however, the main vigilante, Rorschach, is basically batman if batman was a homeless person. He’s also a complete sociopath, gone deep into the dredges of insanity by his isolation from other humans. He’s really really messed up and he’s somehow still the protagonist despite this. The Comedian (the plots driving force) is a vigilante because he actually just enjoys violence. These characters are no superman. This series is the dark gritty book that puts the ‘graphic’ in graphic novel and was among the first to do so.

So how does the movie stack up to the book?

Really well actually. The Zack Synder movie from 2009 is actually a pretty good representation of the source material. Lots of scenes are taken shot for shot from the comic which is rewarding for viewers who have engaged with both. The plot and it’s major elements are left completely intact with only a few details changed. The elements which are changed are either insignificant or, in my opinion, better. WHOA that’s a hot take right there. I said it though. The ending from the movie makes more sense than the ending in the book. It’s the same ending with one little detail changed that I honestly believe improves it. It gets a pass from me! Next Wednesday lets talk about Hunger Games.

(P.S. The movie has a really dope soundtrack. Also it seriously earns it’s R rating so be advised)