And I’m a little ashamed to admit I’ve not read the novel.
I would offer the defence that I chose to see the film first, but the prosecution would counter that I only became aware of the novel once talk of the film had begun. And then I would be screwed.
What I will say is that as it stands, this is an excellent film.
In a densely-packed story of all-too-human superheroes, we get to see the social consequences of state-sponsored vigilantism, just how much getting around in an costume fighting crime can fuck you up, and all set in an alternate 1985 where Nixon is still President,
That only one of the eponymous Watchmen is actually a superhero is a brilliant device. This has always been (sticking to the DC universe) the difference between Superman and Batman: while Supes is an alien with real powers, Batman’s just a rich dude with a lot of cool gadgets.
Watchmen shows us that in reality, the idea of them working together in some sort of Justice League is ridiculous.
The superman’s inherent inhumanity will eventually crystallise as apathy, and the gadget guy will be unmasked as one pathetically seeking acceptance (an nice idea explored recently in The Dark Knight).
And so it is here: mutual mistrust eventually blows them apart. And set against the background of 1980s nuclear paranoia, the potential for destruction is made very metaphorically clear.
4.5 out of 5