First, reviewing this as a movie by itself, ignoring the history of the franchise; It is an AWESOME film, easily one of my favorites in the genre and all time quite possibly. It's so beautiful, only complain in graphics is Dr. Manhattan, it does look "plastic", but it doesn't spoil it. Great action sequences, a ton of compelling dialogues including voice-overs. The mock footage of historical events is so greatly conceived it's like history rewritten. Plus, the Minutemen and the Comedian, a real HOME RUN! The OST was a little distracting though, and Silk Spectre's II acting was not matching the film requirements. It's a long movie, but in the good way, you won' t feel uninterested in the plot or characters one bit, and you get a great, deep and long flick for an average ticket price so, go Watch'em :D
Now, the geek side takes over and accompanied with spoilers!!! I think Zack Snyder's conception of Rorschach had little to do with the comic-book character, hated that, specially the scene where he describes the kidnap investigation he leaded. The traits of character are made so clear in the comic, and he seemed not to get them at all. Dr. Manhattan also fails to deliver his inhumanity, he seems more like, frightened or shy all the time. I also wished there was more of the Minutemen (I really almost cried of happiness when I saw the title & credits), the New Frontiersman/New York Gazette bits, technology, symbolisms, and also, the commercial need to rename the team CRIMEBUSTERS to Watchmen, I think was unnecessary. Not a big fan of the new ending really, it seems that people forget it's kind of like a personal tribute Moore made in honor of H G Wells that worked marvelously, it was lost to a not-so-good-but-not-so-bad one where Manhattan is the key to the conspiracy.
In general terms, this is a movie worth your while, brutal realization, it promises to become a classic, and possibly inspire a lot of people, I am very pleased with it. Zack Snyder, in my opinion, is the most talented director for this kind of films, and you can tell his love for Watchmen is absolute, like the love of the comic geek community (at your service). But, it's obvious it just can't be as good as the comic-book, it's impossible.
I suggest you do both, read the paperback and see the flick, the world of Watchmen is always a good, interesting take on this joke we call life.
On a little sidenote, even though Paramount pictures acted like jerks with the internet sites interested in covering Watchmen (which, seriously, you guys should reconsider your position). And weirdly enough, there was some advertisement of the movie with Moore's name on it (I will post it when Mkopke scans it). They did go all the way with the premiere invitations and a cellphone/iPod baggy, which you can se posted down here, courtesy of Manuel "Mkopke" Garcia (producer of Spicy Chilli Candy, creator of Katmandu and co-creator of Rock N' Roadies, along with yours truly) and my crappy webcam.
- Doctor Manhattan: You sound bitter. You're a strange man, Blake. You have strange attitudes to life and war.
- The Comedian: Strange? Listen... once you figure out what a joke everything is, being the Comedian's the only thing that makes sense.
- Doctor Manhattan: The charred villages, the boys with necklaces of human ears... these are part of the joke?
- The Comedian: Hey... I never said it was a good joke! I'm just playing along with the gag...
-Alan Moore, Watchmen-