I can't believe I'm actually doing this, but apparently my ego can't take people disagreeing with me. Oh well.
Several of my friends have severely disagreed with my mostly positive view of Watchmen (the film). I figured I should address their arguments here.
The first thing to remember about Watchmen as a film is that it is directly adapted from a twelve-issue graphic novel, and much is left out. The entire presentation of the film, while technically being accurate to the book, uses well-crafted cinematography to "enhance" the still panels of the comic.
What's interesting is that the original story never actually "excited" the reader; the book is incredibly dry. The graphic novel is more intellectual, giving extremely detailed and in-depth looks at the psychology of the characters. The film, on the other hand, does everything it can possibly do in the time allotted, but doesn't get to the same level.
I had a different experience than a lot of casual viewers of the film in that I read the book first, so all the "gaps" were filled in for me.
Example: Rorschach and his past
In the film, we only see a couple of scenes showing Rorschach as a child: one where he walks in on his prostitute mother, and another in which he bites a bully's ear off.
In the book, Rorschach is shown to have a much more intricate character, as we see Rorschach's effect on others and vice versa. In the book, the story's main villain puts specific psychological triggers in Rorschach's path in order to destabilize his mind, which is actually what leads to Rorschach getting captured. Also, the prison psychologist that Rorschach sees is affected by his conversations with Rorschach, to the point where he has to stand up to his controlling, selfish wife and choose to help others rather than follow society's blind apathy.
It's definitely true that the film sensationalizes the story. It doesn't contradict the tone of the book, but it does make the gruesome elements of the story (which were very matter-of-fact in the book) into flashy action and sex sequences. Now, I do have a few problems with some of that. (the sex scene in particular was RIDICULOUS.) I think that the mistake a lot of people made when watching the film was assuming that the violence and sex were the point of the story, when that wasn't the case. It's like looking at a cylinder.
Depending on what angle you are viewing the cylinder from, you'll see something totally different. If you looked at it from above, you'd see a circle. However, if you stared at it from the side, you might see a slightly-bent rectangle. That is, essentially, the way it is with Watchmen.
Now, here's the interesting thing. I know a good number of people who've seen Watchmen, not read the book, and loved the film anyway. It doesn't just depend on whether or not you've read the book; it has to do with what kind of mental assumptions you make about the world and the story that's being told while you're watching it.
I'm not saying that I think Watchmen is perfect, or that it's for everyone. I'm not even saying that I didn't have problems with it. All I'm saying is that there are a lot of layers to the story, and it's not necessarily fair to dismiss something that complex with a simple viewing of a film that was already heavily edited.
And yes, there is a naked blue guy in it. If you still have a problem with that, then go to an art museum and GET OVER IT.