Fortress Takes is not afraid to go against the trend. In fact we enjoy being an outlet for those who want a confirmation of their against-the-grain opinions. We thought our take on Watchmen was going to be counter-trend, but as of this writing it is only hovering at 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. So it seems a number of others felt as we did (or the local CVS pharmacy was out of Prozac).
Watchmen is not a superhero movie. It is gritty political satire in an alternate world with super-powered people. In fact it is satire wrapped in sarcasm tied with a bow of cynicism. The layers of overlapping symbolism grew so deep that at times you might wonder what message the filmmakers were trying to send. “Okay, so this guy who you thought was bad might be good for the alternate America.” Later, “No wait he is bad.” Later still, “Huh? Wait a minute, now we are supposed to think he is good again? &%#@*!”
Americans should not feel too bad about the anti-American bent to the satire, because beyond that there was an anti-human message. Yes, one key message with which you can easily walk out of the theatre is “humanity is horrible”. Disgusting, warlike, deviant, perverted wretches living in constantly rain soaked squalor. Nihilism. Look it up. That was the un-fun message.
However when making an interminably long and self-serious movie (2 hours 43 minutes) with characters that have potential you are bound to entertain in at least a few scenes. When Batman, er Night Owl and Silk Stalkings, er Spectre fight their way down that prison corridor, it was fun. When they destroyed those predatory thugs in the alley you appreciated the irony. Unfortunately these scenes were too few and far between.
One character the movie goes to great lengths to get you to behind is Rorschach. (Yes, he is over the top and crosses the line against bad guys.) As the narrator of the film when it was trying to be noir-ish, you followed him as he investigated his unlikely but true conspiracy therory. When unmasked and alone in prison, you wanted the little guy to survive against the criminal vermin.
He was uncompromising regarding the truth. That is why we suppose the completely unsympathetic character Doctor Manhattan explodes him in the film’s second to last minute. “Huh? Did that just happen?” Oh do not worry. After 2 hours and 42 minutes of holding that existing social and political institutions must be destroyed in order to clear the way for a new state of society, we get 1 minute of saccharin. Yup, that fake, out of place, sunny-for-once moment is supposed to somehow overpower the sour taste in your mouth.
Additionally, at the risk of being puerile: We know Doctor Manhattan has become a (boring) energy being and has indifference for all things human, including the quaint notion of clothes. But still, he did occasionally wear a little black speedo for the sake of others. Sadly it was only occasionally. Some of us got tired of seeing his glowing blue dork in many a scene.
There were some decent special effects, but not extraordinary. The costume designs were inconsistent in quality. Watchmen is not terrible, but know what you are getting into. Readers of the graphic novel knew; the rest voted on Rotten Tomatoes.