I am patient. I’ll watch hyped-up must-see movies when I get around to them. They’re not going anywhere.
There’s a trick to watching such movies: I deliberately didn’t anticipate Watchmen before it came out, and I didn’t read reviews after it came out. So when I fired up the new 3 hour directors cut, I watched it unbiased. I didn’t need it to be good, and I wouldn’t care if it was bad. Perfect.
Turns out, Watchmen is really good, and worth watching on its own terms. It emphasizes different aspects of Alan Moore’s story, while other aspects are lost. I respect the changes they’ve made. It’s all coherent, (unlike that mess The Dark Knight).
One thing that’s toned down is the right-left political axis. It’s still there, but clumsily handled compared to the comic book. (Which side is right, and why? The answer will start an interesting discussion.) And it’s ironic that the director satirizes violence one moment, then indulges in typical super-awesome super-hero brutality later. Rorschach and The Comedian’s brutality serves a point. Nite Owl’s undermines it.
Which just means you should also read the comic book, then continue with the rest of Alan Moore’s less famous catalogue. My personal favourite is Promethea.
But the movie stands on its own feet. I’m impressed.