At Midnight All the Agents

95 Theses will be postponed, because right now it’s time to talk about Watchmen.

Excitement ran high at the midnight screening.  Excitement and, dare I say, anxiety.  This movie is kind of a big deal, and it would be so very easy to mess it up, as the evidence clearly shows.

Before the movie, there were the trailers.  And all of them were awesome.  New Wolverine trailer, new Terminator trailer, new Star Trek trailer, and a trailer for a movie called Public Enemies which stars Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis, directed by Michael Mann, which is now high on my must-see list.  And all the while, the nagging question was “is this movie going to suck?”

Short answer: no.

Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No.”

Those are not the first words of the movie.  But that’s only because Snyder quite reasonably decided to open with the Comedian going through the window, which was immediately followed by a quite brilliant montage compressed four and a half decades of alternate history into a series of iconic images set to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”  Then we get Rorschach, and he is just about perfect.

So is the preponderance of the movie.  It’s unquestionably the best Alan Moore adaptation ever, one of the best superhero movies to date, and staggeringly faithful to the source material.

Without spoiling too much, let me just point out some highlights:

The ending is different in detail, but not in spirit.  Zack Snyder had the balls to do it right.  And yes, he did it thirty-five minutes ago.

Speaking of balls, Even in the face of Armageddon, there is no compromise with Dr. Manhattan’s package.  The atomic blue wang swings freely.

The Comedian is everything he should be.  So’s Dan Dreiberg.

Ozymandias is excellent, though Matthew Goode is too skinny-looking to really be quite believable as a man as strong as Adrian Veidt is supposed to be.

Billy Crudup is spectacular as Dr. Manhattan.  And his Martian exile is one of the high points of the film.

The soundtrack nails it.  When the Owlship comes up on Ozymandias’ Antarctic fortress, you know what righteous chords begin to ring out.

Seriously, I cannot get over how thrilled I am about this: he did it thirty-five minutes ago.  All is well.

Also, I’m in love with Carla Gugino.

The movie is better than we had any right to hope, almost as good as a Watchmen movie could possibly be, and the quality of this adaptation of a dense unfilmable literary cult classic into an epic special-effects-fueled action film should make Peter Jackson ashamed of himself.

And really, that’s all there is to say.

Except for this.

Dog.  Dog with head split in half.

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