What do I need to tell you to avoid seeing Watchmen?
Part of me wants you -- all 34 of you who read this -- to suffer as I have suffered, but there's a time when one has to sacrifice himself for the greater good. I can do this.
A few stats about this 163-minute movie.
1 hr 27 min: first black character appears.
1 hr 44 min: first heroic impulse sighted.
2 hr 04 min: first antagonist introduced.
What the hell was it doing until then? I wish I knew. The plot meanders, setting up a backstory for what needs to be the greatest story ever told in order to make it worthwhile. It isn't. Spanning generations, multiple perspectives, and alternate histories, we learn that there are costumed fighters (many obscured by masks) who control the course of the American way, for better or for worse. From what I can tell, it's mostly about the main characters standing around and looking iconic, rather than heroic. We don't know how or why they form, what each individual brings to the table, or what they have in common. More importantly, we're not really told why they aren't so active anymore.
It seems that director Zack Snyder can't decide whether he's being deep or dark, but mostly I got a strong vibe of pretentiousness. Artfully done, emotionally empty. Maybe this is by design, but you have to try to get the audience to care, even if the characters don't. We were silent, and not necessarily rapt with attention. "Repulsed with attention" might be a better description, considering all the senseless violence, some of it against women. This is a movie that separates the fanboys from everyone else; you'd have an uphill battle convincing me that there's much of anything here that's of general interest.
Eventually, I gathered the semblance of a point, but I was too defeated by then to think much of it. As the film was winding down, I didn't really care how it ended, just as long as it ended.
(Author's Note: there's so many embarrassingly bad things about this movie that I chose to leave out of my review, in an attempt to keep it short. I can elaborate in the comments section, should anyone have questions.)