Warning, SPIOLERS!!! DONT READ IF HAVENT SEEN .Watchmen blew me away, it's very rare that a film actually live's up to your expectations, this lived up to and beyond my own, and i had some serious expectations for this, the film adaptation of the "unfilmable, citizen kane of graphic novels". Sure there is a far longer directors cut that includes the various subplots and even the "tales of the black freighter" pirate story, but really as your watching it nothing really feels like it's missing from the graphic novel, all the key moments are there, the violence and brutality has if anything been magnified from the comic, this really is hard stuff, most people will (despite the 18 cert) be expecting a fairly route superhero movie, they will definitely not be expecting attempted rape, child killing and a superhero who "cant get it up". Although this astonishing film is already on it's way to being a box office disappointment in the states i believe it will still change the superhero movie forever, the entire concept of a superhero is turned entirely on it's head, and even the very notion of right or wrong, or what it will really take to save this world from itself, is upended. I also suspect that this film will become cult legend through the many kids and teenage superhero movie fans who will seek it out (mostly on dvd) and be shocked and surprised by all the graphic sex and violence and morally grey decisions the goods guys have to make. As an adaptation this film is near perfect, as a fan i sat there amazed by how faithful it was to the themes and tone of the comic, and even how it improved upon whole passages and scenes, the opening fight, the birth of dr Manhattan, every scene with the fantastic jackie earle haley, perfect as inkblot masked vigilante Rorschach. Which leads to the casting overall, haley as i said IS rorshcach, every line deliverd to a t, every bit of his body language convey exactly how you imagined, and billy crudup is similarly spot on as the blue, glowing and mostly naked (big blue wang shockingly included) dr manhatten, the only character who actually possesses superpowers, his gental, subtle and spot on line delivery conveyed through an astoundingly perfect motion capture performance, he gives real complexity and tracable emotional undercurrents to this perfect being who may have forgotten what it means to be human. Supernatural's jeffry dean morgan paints the moraly depraved sociopath "the comedien" with real sympathy, he's a character you should compleatly hate but you somehow just can't, he hates himself enough, and has condemed himself all the way. Patrick wilson makes a far more likable dan drieberg/night owl 2, than the spineless illistrated incarnation, and mathew goode's adrian vite/ozymandis is changed and evolved into cinema form brilliantly, malin akerman does deliver some lines dogily as slik spectre 2, but otherwise shines in the role, especialy in scenes between herself and patrick wilson (great, easy chemistry and a fantastic sex scene) if there were some quibbles to be had, id say that some of the fight scenes were too "cool" and cartoonish (the prison fight and the showdown with ozymandis), detracting from the fact that these are meant to be real people in self made costumes, not perfect, sleek superheros. Also richard nixons prosthetic nose? but these are as i said minor complaints, and although the ending lacks the sheer bloody horror from the comics ending, i think this new ending was superior to the original one, and in many ways made more sense. This is a masterpiece which stands toe to toe with some of the greatest films ever made. Not everyone will like it, it'll provoke and frustrate the average film goer, and they may well give up on it before the end. So here it is, an adult superhero film that offers no easy answers and resolution, that's thought provoking and even shocking, a film that is a mirror to our world right now, it will split people down the middle, it is a classic in other words. I also think that in adapting the graphic novel to screen watchmen has evolved in to another beast entirely. Director zack snyder hasn't just opted to go for another gritty, real world set superhero film like the dark knight or unbreakable, that's already been done, something very different was needed for the watchmen movie itself, snyder has made a dark satire of superhero movies themselves, here we have a stylized, colorful comic book world (as opposed to the grey, grounded world of the dark knight) and here we have superheros who are like the ones we see in comic book movies, with their brightly colored, campy costumes and even slightly cartoonish, wire assisted over the top fight scenes towards the end (again, see the final showdown) they could have come out of x-men or a campy superhero show, but it challenges us by having the people behind these masks and under these spandex costumes be unstable, sociopathic, and prone to using their positions of authority to elicit excessively brutal violence, which they even get off on (check out dan and laurie after the ally fight) these are morally grey people who cant connect with the real world and have no identity outside of the safety of their costumes, who have to make terrible choices for the greater good, choices that may be very wrong, and they're meant to be our friendly neighborhood protectors, this takes place in a bright comic book world but it's filled with blood, death, violence and difficult discussions. It's amazing how relevant a film this is, and how it has come along at the perfect time, despite being based on a graphic novel that's more than 20 years old it plays on our current climate, the fear of terrorism and complete annihilation and at the same time rips apart our most popular escapism from these fears, the superhero movie. This is something that just doesn't happen any more, a big studio film that takes risks, that's bold and challenging, difficult and deeply complex. It will take years to fully dissect and analyse the themes and images of zack snyders masterful watchmen film. We may not see the likes of this again for some time. To all those who want more intelligent, thought provoking films in the mainstream, watch the watchmen, and cherish it. For an even more rich experience check out the directors cut, which is the definitive version of the movie, ironing out some of the flaws and kinks, letting the film breathe a bit more, and for real fans there's the ultimate cut, which is frankly bonkers, inserting the comic within the comic "The Tales Of The Black Freighter" back in as a segmented animated film that is interspersed throughout the film, bringing the run time up to over 3 and a half hours. Dose this work you ask? not entirely, it's gimmicky and very odd when the film suddenly lurches into a violent cartoon about pirates, it also interrupts the pace of the already very long film, but it is absolutely fascinating to behold, if one were to view the whole thing for the first time with this cut, the reaction will either be mind blowing or baffling, maybe both. It's really a thing for fans of the graphic novel who wanted EVERYTHING up there on screen, and as a Watchmen enthusiast it is a buzz to see them go as far as they do with both the TOTBF and putting the complete appearances of the two Bernie's in the film, if that means anything to you, non Watchmen fan. Though it can be unwieldy, episodic in nature, and feature heavily stylized action and violence that often goes so over the top as to undercut the impact of certain scenes, Zack Snyder has created a real visionary masterwork here, even four years later i cant believe he got away with the content, the graphic gore, the overt and explicit sexuality, the attempted rape, Dr Manhattens big swinging junk, Patrick Wilson thrusting into Malin Akerman, NC-17 style, the gunned down pregnant woman, that bleak, downbeat, morally ambiguous and in this post 9/11 wold, chillingly relevant ending, all the while completely, perversely deconstructing Hollywood's biggest money maker, the superhero movie, all on a massive blockbuster budget, by a major studio, i dont think we will see anything quite like this bold, unique and impossibly ambitious film again.