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Watchmen: movie vs. comic

Published on: 2021-06-11

I've re-watched the 2009 Watchmen movie the other night, which refreshed some of my thoughts on both it and the graphic novel. Spoiler alert: I really like both of them!

I'm generally not a big comic book fan, but Watchmen has a special place in my heart. Yes, it can be a bit on the nose about some of its critique. And it's graphic in more ways than one. But ultimately I cannot but appreciate it's meta-commentary on a the very concept of an action hero. I was never able to take any other comic seriously after reading Watchmen.

The movie, on the other hand, is peak Snyder for me. I actually appreciate how graphical it feels, the scenes adapted 1-1. I find crossing mediums really interesting in general and like it when I see stuff like framing of the shot that follows paneling in the book.

I know some criticize the movie for even attempting to adapt Moore's "unfilmable" masterpiece. And yeah, I too appreciate some of its distinctly comic-book-esque aspects, like the famous symmetry in the 5th issue, or more general stuff like the stellar color palette and art style. But then again, the movie has it's unique master-strokes too. For example the amazing soundtrack or the opening credits montage.

What I enjoy the most, in both mediums, is the story. This is why ultimately I prefer movie over book. It all comes down to the ending, and here I must give clear advantage to the film. It just makes more sense to frame Dr. Manhattan for the attacks. The "it's aliens" punchline is just so absurd it gets comical. But it's more than that.

The biggest hurdle that Adrian needs to overcome over the course of the story is how to remove Dr. Manhattan from the picture. This is where most of the intrigue comes from but, more importantly, this is where most of the character conflicts in the book come from. So it makes more sense from the storytelling perspective to focus the mass attacks on Manhattan as well.

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