I'm a self professed 'geek' (- a term used derogatively by the masses but in fact just highlights their own shortcomings) and I clearly remember being 11, going to the library and finding the graphic novel section and wowed that comic books were in the library!
From that moment on, I was immersed in a world of Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, Flash, Nexus... I was living a kid's dream in the company of superheroes but as I satiated my childish glee, I became interested in more thoughtful plots - true graphic novels which would be insulted being referred to as a comic. One that remains still clear in my mind is the Watchmen, which I have picked up several times between these years and I hoped that the movie did the book justice as there have been countless Hollywood attempts at bringing life to comics with eye-bleeding results (does anyone remember Halle Berry as Catwoman?!).
This was the first graphic novel that opened my mind to other aspects of the superhero life, more than the super powers and heroics - the humanity of heroes. It is quite dark and gritty, shocking scenes of violence including abuse to women would knock you out of your comfort zone and when you see it happen in a movie as opposed to drawings, stunned is an understatement.
Watchmen is about a group of people with power and ideals doing what they believe is right and just for the world and how everyone's opinion of righteousness differs. You have those that fight from the bottom up, cleaning the streets of crime and working upwards, those that want to start from the top and bring crime crashing from it's heights, those that don't care as long as it doesn't affect them and finally those that think they can save the world in one act. Yet all of these people are on the same team.
The dynamics between the different 'heroes' is interesting and you couldn't help but sympathise with aspects of everyone's views as you watch the powerplay amongst them but unlike the book, you could tell who the 'bad guy' was. The essence of the story is "the end justifies the means" and to how far you would go down that path. Would you sacrifice a handful for the peace of a city? A million for the world? Or would you stick to your guns like Rorschach and "never compromise, not even in the face of armageddon"?
Those of us who have read the novel will know the difference in endings but it essentially brought about the same end and in honesty, I preferred the movie's ending as it didn't seem as far-fetched as the novel. The only gripe I would have was that it didn't leave you in as much suspense as to who the mastermind of this was. Also the frequency of full frontal male nudity was a sight I could have lived without!
The movie is pretty true to its origins and is done well, in fact it was more shocking for me than the novel and viewers must be warned beforehand the nature of this movie :- cold, brutal and brilliant!