Oh, man, that was great.
No, seriously. This is the first time I was very, very pleased with an Alan Moore movie. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a massive clusterfuck from the word go, V for Vendetta was pretty good, but not great. This, though? Yes. I was so afraid it would suck—either it would try to stay true to the comic and fail, or it wouldn’t even try, and thus suck as an adaptation. But the movie managed to be both true to the source material and be very watchable. A lot of the backstory and exposition was nicely filled in with various flashbacks and montages, most of which were merged into the storyline pretty smoothly. The only exception I can think of is Ozymandias’ origin. The movie has him expositioning to a bunch of financial bigwigs just before his attempted “assassination,” which felt forced and didn’t reveal all that much anyway. Oh well.
Some stuff was trimmed or tweaked, like Dr. Manhattan’s solitary meditation on Mars, but that’s fine. A couple of scenes were actually improved, like when Nite Owl and Rorschach broke into Veidt’s computer network. In the comic, Nite Owl when entered “RAMESES”, the system helpfully told him the password was incomplete. The movie bypassed this silliness, showing Dreiberg attempting a few passwords before hitting on “RAMESES II”. I also liked the new costumes. It’s a well-known fact that while many superhero costumes look good on paper, they don’t look so good on the big screen (or the little screen). Case in point: the very, very dorky 1940’s Minutemen costumes in the opening montage. Seriously, Mothman, with the wings? Hooded Justice, with that noose around his neck, what’s up with that?
As for Ozymandias’ master plan? Well, I’ve got no complaints. Teleporting a giant psychic squid to kill half of New York might have worked in the comic, but it’d be harder to pull off on the big screen. Ozymandias duplicating Manhattan’s powers? That worked better, and was just as good a testament to his ingenuity.
In short: very impressed, and I’d definitely recommend this movie whether or not you’ve read the original graphic novel.