Graphic novel film is a disappointment for avid fans

Try to imagine your favorite book. If it hasn’t already been transferred to film, imagine being devastated by a poorly told story or second-rate portrayal of its characters. On the other hand, you might be able to envision a grandiose depiction of stunning visuals or satisfying thrills. Both of these scenarios can be easily applied to the film adaptation of the graphic novel titled ‘Watchmen.’ It seems as if the success of ‘The Dark Knight’ has made a new spectacle out of superhero films. The horizon of superhero films is charging toward us with a clan of darker, more complex and ultimately tragic characters. ‘Watchmen’ seems to be the first film to truly embrace these qualities, but has endless trouble bringing it to entertaining life. The story takes place in an alternate 1985 universe where the U.S.’s tension with the Soviet Union has the world on the brink of global meltdown. Within this world, there are masked vigilante superheroes who have been outlawed and forced into hiding. When a mystery attacker slowly begins killing off these retired heroes and exposing their identities, the remaining members reunite to uncover a hideous plot that runs as dark as the doomsday clock counting down to a global destruction. In his last graphic novel adaptation, ‘300,’ director Zack Snyder became known as a visionary fanboy director due to an intense use of groundbreaking visual effects and action sequences. However, as a filmmaker that merely exhibits style over substance, Snyder has retained his careless bad-boy image with yet another exhibition of uneven character development and overpowering moments of visual brilliance in ‘Watchmen.’ Ultimately, Zack Snyder’s version of ‘Watchmen’ fails as a movie simply because the graphic novel is a much easier way of understanding such a complex story. With such a poorly constructed and overlong script, ‘Watchmen’ may have some of its fans losing interest after countless scenes of mismatched story arcs and an overwhelming number of underdeveloped characters. Snyder may have captured a fantastic look and feel that emulates the beautiful original artwork of Alan Moore’s landmark novel, but the once intriguing complex narrative seems to have flown right over his head with no chance of being understood. In the end, the die-hard fans will either love it for the visual grandeur, or hate it for the poor retelling of brilliant source material. To all of those who are unfamiliar, good luck. Letter Grade: C Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language. Runtime: 162 min. Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Directed by Zack Snyder