Fanboys, bros, here’s the deal:  Watchmen is a good movie adaption of a great graphic novel.  Creator Alan Moore said in an interview (and I’m paraphrasing) some comics are just meant to be comic books.

That being said, the movie is pretty good and audiences that have never read or heard of the Watchmen will probably be mostly entertained.  The character of Rorschach, played awesomely by Jackie Earle Haley, holds most of the plot together.  This is not surprising, considering the amount of ass kicking he does.  All the great moments are in there: Rorschach on the case, his origin, his capture, the jail scenes—  They’re all great and follow the comic pretty faithfully.

But the story of the Watchmen is bigger than Rorschach and the story is way more nuanced in the comic book.  Part of the reason the movie is almost three hours long is that the movie is constantly explaining itself.  About 60% of that is justified, but the other 40% overburdens the audience.  The story is somewhat streamlined, but then Zack Snyder and the team add touches that change the tone.  Every line of dialogue that’s not from the comic book is noticeable.  It’s not poorly written, it’s just not Alan Moore.

To his credit and that of his team, they find a fairly elegant way of collapsing together two major plot points.  (Spoiler warning)  ie: The alien invasion and Dr. Manhattan’s eventual exit.  A lot of the extras are dropped off, but the stuff with the newstand and the pirate comic books wasn’t going to fly in a movie anyways, so you kind of expect it.

Where the movie goes from great to just good is the change in tone.  The comic is bleak.  Night Owl and Silk Specter are essentially helpless and caught up in the events, but in the movie they have some control over them.  Just right at the very end.  And it’s just a little happy and hopeful at the end.  There’s also a five minute wrap up sequence with them and Specter’s mom that diehard fans should just completely tune out.  (You’ll know it when you see it.)  It almost ruins the movie, but thankfully, most of the awesomeness prevails.

There’s also a few touches during the final fight that come so tantalizing close to perfect, but one little detail is left out.  Still, Rorschach’s sheer awesomeness mostly prevails, so I don’t think even the diehard fans will be disappointed.  That the Citizen Kane of comic books has been turned into a mere Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back isn’t bad.  Maybe that’s the closest you can get with an Alan Moore graphic novel.

Fair warning, Dr. Manhattan’s blue schlong is all up in this movie.  In the comic book, it’s barely noticeable, but the dudity did get a little out of control.  Some of it is balanced out by seeing Silk Specter’s titties, but, well, just be glad this wasn’t in 3D.

I give Watchmen 9 kegs out of 10, partially for the sheer effort of the movie makers and partially because I’ve always been a fan.  A lesser fanboy would probably give it an 8.  Whether your a fan or not, I think you will enjoy it and certainly the DVD will be full of awesome.