I have to admit that when this movie was released I was interested in only the soundtrack. Superhero movies don't do it for me, and even though I heard this was an unconventional type of superhero movie I didn't really care. What I cared about was that a certain band that has since broken my heart and made it impossible to listen to another band as - devotedly as I had this one got to do a song for the movie. Not one of theirs, they took a 70's song, revved it up and were really proud of it at the time. So was I. Now it's a slap in the face.
But I'd never seen the movie and, having gotten the DVD for a buck as the final nail in the coffin that was my extensive band collection and my internet service once again on the blink I shrugged and popped it in. Supposed to be a big movie, right? Right? Okay yeah, it was big - big on suck. Oh man it sucked. I mean really really REALLY sucked. But let me tell you how I REALLY feel.
Yeah, I'm familiar with the concept of the 'good guy' having rotten attributes and the 'bad guy' having redeeming qualities in some movies but hey, this is supposed to be about the ultimate struggle between good and evil. That means the good guys in the good costumes are, well, GOOD and the evil dudes in theirs, EVIL. Not the ambivalent wishy-washy moralism pushed in this movie.
There are a bunch of names in this movie - I recognized a few faces, but if there was a character actor to respect in this mess it would have to be Jackie Earle Haley. He plays Rorschach (That's the ink blot test dummies, not the Sweathog.), a 'good guy' with a strange sock on his head that displays ever changing patterns. There were other flashier guys (like the perpetually naked would-you-please-at-least-wear-a-thong Dr. Manhattan, a naked blue figure who can be 1000 feet tall (or more I don't know) but I DID notice that he had something on when he was huge 'cause hey, who wants to look up and see... you know.
So in 1940 these good guys got together and called themselves The Minutemen because for some reason the bad guys felt good in costumes (kinky) so they thought 'Hey, why the hell not?' and formed this club. But just like in 'real life' men can be creeps - one 'hero' rapes one of the heroines. WTH? And because of the way they keep the world in check (oh yeah, it was a really fair fight to send a naked blue giant to blow Vietnamese guys clear out of the country) Richard Nixon stays on as President like, forever, since they repealed term limits.
So the movie moves to the 80's and the Cold War. Now Nixon needs an answer to keep the Ruskies from stockpiling those nukes. I mean the blue guy could stop 99 but what about the last one? So to keep the Ruskies calmed down, they outlaw superheroes. Some of them continue to work, but directly for the government while others like Rorschach prefer to work outside the law. The narration is his, from a journal he's keeping of the 'final days' before it is decided whether nuclear war will be declared or not.
Now they muck it up with an insider killing off different past heroes and the story drags... and no wonder this turkey is 162 minutes because let's be honest - this is a soap opera with a bunch of people in brightly colored costumes with a mystery thrown in here and there. Massive duh.
Bottom line? The lines between good and evil get even more mucked up, as the 'most intelligent man on Earth' Ozymandias has 'tricked' Dr. Manhattan to build a nuclear device, he says to power the earth but he really meant to detonate it in every country and blame it on the blue Dr., that way causing peace by giving the world a common enemy. Another massive duh.
The sad part? The earth suddenly loses a few million people and some cities and the blue Dr., having found out about it but too late to stop it, agrees with it! He actually backs the psycho up and figures he'll just pop off to some other planet so this 'peace through death' plan will stick. WTH? And the others just kind of shrug and... whaaaa? The only one to hold to his convictions is Rorschach who, knowing he won't be allowed to live to tell the tale is reduced to a blood smear by Dr. Manhattan. These are the GOOD guys?
Our last scene is in a New York City newspaper office. They still use paper there huh? Anyway, they have no news to print - Ronald Reagan wants to run for President but that's stupid so... the editor tells his reporter just find something to print out of the 'crank mailings' file. On top of that file - Rorschach's journal.