‘Watchmen’ Review: The Perfect Comic Book Series for Our Times
I had never seen the HBO series Watchmen and wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew there was a lot of controversy around it, though I never paid that much attention, to be honest. To be fair, a large amount came from the Watchmen fanboys that didn’t object to the social commentary and issues presented and actually have an issue with changes made to the source material. This is seen with pretty much every film or series that comes from a beloved book or comic book series. When I received a copy of the Limited HBO series Watchmen, I was surprised at what I found in the episodes. It’s a series that speaks to the events occurring today.
This Watchmen takes place 34 years after the events of the comic series. After the events in that story, the once-popular vigilantes are now outlaws because their methods were deemed too violent. In 1985, Adrian Veidt (vigilante Ozymandias) created a fake attack on New York City that resulted in millions within New York being killed and tricked nations to work together against a common threat and to avoid a nuclear disaster. Rorschach, disgusted by this, planned to tell the world what happened but is destroyed by Doctor Manhattan. Unknown to Doctor Manhattan, Rorschach had already sent his journal to be published beforehand.
The show skips to 2019 Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a white supremacist group misinterprets Rorschachs writing and is inspired to wage violent war against minorities and the police that enforce special reparations for victims of racial injustice. In 2016, this group attacked the homes of 40 police officers working for the Tulsa Police Department. Only two stayed with the force: Detective Angela Abar and Police Chief Judd Crawford. The new police force is built, so that police officers never disclose their identities and wear masks and become much like the previously outlawed vigilantes. As Crawford police force attempts to crack down on the group that is attacking the police, she finds herself in the middle of a vast story that involves Doctor Manhattan and the history of masked vigilantes.
There is so much to get into, but at its core, this version of Watchmen really speaks to issues that are impacting the world today. If you have seen the original Watchmen film, you can surmise that much of the narrative was centered on the Cold War, which was a very real threat to people’s minds at the time. Skip to 2019, and it is clear that racial tensions are front and center. This show really speaks to those issues. Starting with the Tulsa Race massacre in 1921 and skipping a century later to present-day, it really brings to light a lot of things that have and have not changed that much. It even delves into issues of rewiring history and myths created based on preferred versions of history.
Not only is the story superbly written, but the casting on the show fantastic. With talents like Louis Gossett Jr., Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Adelaide Clemens, Jeremy Irons, and Andrew Howard, there isn’t a weak or uneven performance in the crew. The production is impressive as well. Beautiful cinematography, set design, and direction really brings everything together.
If you haven’t seen this series yet, I recommend you start watching it today. It will pull you in so quickly you will be shocked. It’s not just an excellent sequel to the original film; it’s an entirely new chapter worthy of being added to the Watchmen canon.
In addition to 9 amazing episodes, Watchmen includes the following bonus materials:
EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
- Hooded Justice
- The Colossal King – Adrian Veidt
ADDITIONAL SPECIAL FEATURES
- Watchmen: Unmasked
- 2019 New York Comic Con
- Watchmen: Masked and Dangerous
- Watchmen S1: Trailer
- Character Trailers: Sister Night, Blond Man and Looking Glass
- Becoming Sister Night
- Notes from the Watchmen graphic novel artist Dave Gibbons
- Rorschach Featurette
- Watchmen: Alternate History
- It’s Raining Squids
- Squid Shelter with Tim Blake Nelson
- Andrij Parekh on Directing
- Sadiqua Bynum runs, jumps and falls for Sister Night
- Anatomy of a Fight Scene
- Glimpses – The Visual Effects of Watchmen
Watchmen is available on Blu-ray & DVD now.