Watchmen has been rumored to be in the works for a film adaptation pretty much since the book was released in the 80s. After several directors and producers were attached and dropped, 300's Snyder brought the project to theaters.
What he delivers is as faithful an adaptation as is possible in one movie, which may be credited to screenwriters David Hayter (X-Men and X2) and Alex Tse (Sucker Free City). It may have served the story better to have split it in half or possibly a trilogy to fit everything from the book into the movie.
The actors in the major roles bring the characters to life in ways rarely seen in comic book adaptations. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach is astoundingly accurate and delivers a performance that will hopefully give a talented character actor more high-profile roles. Even though Rorschach is a highlight of the cast, the rest of the major players are pretty spot on as well, with the exception of Carla Gugino as an elderly Silk Spectre. Her younger performance in the flashbacks is good, but loses something under the bad make-up of the modern day version of the character.
There is a major change in the ending of the movie from the original ending, but there is really only one big detail that is changed. Without giving away too much, the same act is done, but through different methods.
This change has raised the ire of many a fanboy, as well as the author Alan Moore who as publicly stated that he has not seen any film adaptations of his comic books and refuses to. He has not been credited in the film versions of Watchmen or V for Vendetta and has publicly decried League of Extrordinary Gentlemen and the others. His co-creater and artist for Watchmen, Dave Gibbons, has been unerringly positive for his praise in the film adaptation.
There are parts of the book that get glossed over because it is an epic story that could never fully fit into one movie (even this three hour one), but even with those bits and pieces missing or sped through, it is the most accurate adaptation this fanboy could have hoped for.
The movie is enjoyable for people who have never seen the source material, but even more enjoyable for folks familiar with the graphic novel.
Overall, Watchmen gets an A-.
--John Berry, Online Editor--