Back when the Watchmen movie came out in 2009, I wasn’t really into comics much yet. I grew up on baseball cards, not comics. In college, I got into some of the darker comics from Image and Caliber and such. The Crow, Spawn, etc. Still, when Watchmen came along, I went to the theater to watch it. I even did a midnight showing for this back when they were a thing.
I had not read the comic series before seeing the movie. I’m not sure if it was the late night, or the beers with supper before hand, but I struggled to stay interested (and awake) when watching it in the theatre. I came away unsatisfied, and I never circled back around to it.
Fast forward 12 years and HBO put out a series based on Watchmen. It got pretty solid reviews overall, so I said what the hell, I’ll start it. I haven’t started it yet. That is coming soon now.
Like I did with Ready Player One, like I’m now doing with Dune, I am reading the books before the movie. So, I read Watchmen. And I loved it. One of my favorite comics yet. Incredible writing from Alan Moore. So many panels I wanted to screenshot just for the turn of phrases within each. It helped following along digitally and reading some of the reader comments underneath as well.
Before I got into the series, I decided to go back and re-watch the movie. I had actually forgotten this was directed by Zak Snyder. I was quickly reminded with the gratuitous slow-mo. This was three years after 300. I swear, if Snyder had directed Speed, that bus would have been moving at 12 miles an hour the whole time.
Anywho, on the rewatch, I found myself appreciating the movie much, much more, which surprised be. I seemed to remember the Watchmen readers not caring for the movie so much. It stayed true to the book all in all. And yes, some of the subtlety of the book was lost in the movie, but that is too be expected in most book-to-movie transitions. Case in point–Ready Player One.
Some movies take a few watches to get to like them. Big Lebowski and Napoleon Dynamite come to mind. This one got better because I was more familiar with the work, I think. I could read between the lines of the movie.
If you are like me and have only seen the movie, didn’t like it, then I highly recommend the book, then watch the movie again. I look forward to the series.