Box art for Watchmen


action & adventure, drama

When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the outlawed but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

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common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Positive role models
0 out of 5
4 out of 5
5 out of 5
4 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5

Not a superhero movie; a dark, gory, complex morality tale.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this non-animated adaptation of the beloved cult graphic novel isn't just another superhero story and is absolutely not for kids. Even the director has said that he purposely made the movie intensely gory to make a point about the consequences of violent behavior. Sex is paired with graphic violence in a near-rape scene, and characters act in ways that seem highly amoral. They also swear constantly (including "f--k" and "s--t"), smoke, and drink. There's plenty of nudity, with some very graphic sex scenes and a computer-enhanced character who walks around nude (sure, he's blue, but he still has a normal male anatomy). Both the novel and the movie examine complex issues of morality, humankind's basic nature, and the specter of nuclear holocaust. Not light stuff, and certainly not for anyone who expects a simple good vs. evil story. If your teens can tackle heavy philosophical questions, they might be mature enough to make sense of the film's complicated plot. Finally, the movie clocks in at 2 hours 41 minutes most of which are chock full of in-your-face violence, darkness, and peril.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's portrayal of human nature. Are people good? Bad? All of the above?
  • If your teens have read the book, ask them how the movie is different -- and what impact having real people in the roles has on the story.
  • According to director Zack Snyder in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "I wanted to make sure everyone understood: This is not a kid movie. Violence has consequences. And doing that with a PG-13 just dilutes that message." Do you agree? Does the violence in this movie have more impact because it's not illustrated?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 1
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  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: This movie will shake your windows and rattle your walls. At least it will for a couple of hours, before 40-odd minutes of draggy, comic-book exposition smother the wild, subversive superhero business that came before.

- Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday, March 5, 2009

Audience Reviews

4 stars

I had never read the graphic novel till about a year and half ago. I had really missed out on something awesome. Now for the movie it was not disappointing in any way to me. The changes being only a one time reader of the graphic novel I didnt notice too much. There were many parts though from the novel that jumped right out at me and that was impressive. I thought as a whole it was a very well done and solid movie. Darker than most superhero flicks, as the comic was darker and changed the way comics were forever.

- jmanard52, Tuesday, July 28, 2009

3 stars

a marvelous spectacle of a film that was a complete joy to watch but was not without its downsides. although i love comics, i actually watched this without having read the source material, which helped in some ways but probably hurted as well. on the upside most of the cast was chosen perfectly and performed with brilliance. the effects were as good as expected and snyder did a great job directing the parts of the story that we were given. the world created for the film was impressive, sending me into an escapist mentality at the outset of the film. on the downside, despite most actors bringing a lot to the table, i felt that the entire representation of adrian played by matthew goode fell incredibly flat. goode's performance was lacking, i felt that he was a bit miscast and lacked believability, and his character was incredibly underdeveloped in the film. this was disappointing because of the major role that his character plays. essentially, we end up with a villian that seems inconsequential. also, aside from dr. manhatten, i dont think the characters were fleshed out all that well, despite the long running time of nearly 3 hours. because this was my introduction to these characters, i floated through the film unsure of anyones true motivations or connections to anything that any of them did. rorshach was great, but the other characters seemed to just exist in a series of events sort of stacked one on top of the other without really drawing me into the story as a whole. and finally, after the first two hours were incredibly impressive in the way the film was unfolding, i felt like the final 40 minutes went 80's cheeseball very quickly and never recovered. overall a very good film that i recommend, but one that thrives more on spectacle than story.

- sanjurosamurai, Wednesday, August 18, 2010

4 stars

Zach Synder's "Watchman" is undoubtedly a unique, dark, emotional and powerful experience. It may be grounded in science-fiction and the main characters are superheroes, but the emotions cannot be more human. Visually dazzling images and cinematography, nihilism and existentialism abound make for a mentally engaging experience.

- stevenecarrier, Friday, August 13, 2010