In the first movie of its series, based on Allan Moore's story, the tone is set for future of what could be another hugely successful comic series based movie franchise. Honestly, I had not even heard of the comic book, and after watching the movie, don't think...would look for them either at the bookstore or newstands. When Zack Snyder of 300 (which I found bit too dark) fame, delivers this movie in theaters, you don't need much introduction, really. CGI is of highest order, which gives it a graphic novel feel, which I feel is the general trend among the movies these days. The last of the Batman series was also in some sense, a shift.
Back to the movie, when Comedian, one of the now, disbanded group of superheroes (called Watchmen) in murdered gruesomely in the darkness of the night, the others are a worried lot. Rorschach (one of the group) sets looking for the perpetrator of this crime, where everyone is a suspect. However, Comedian was no ordinary guy, who could be killed by another ordinary person and this was definitely not a robbery case. While Adrian Veidt (Mathew Goode) has built a successful business empire, based on the group's heroics itself, Dan Drielberg (Patrick Wilson gives a great performance) is living the role of a normal middle aged guy, with an adventurous past, who has little luck with girls, spends time with his mentor, the earlier Nite Owl. Billy Crudup is brilliant as Mr. Manhattan, the scientist, who accidentally acquired supernatural powers of different kinds as a Creator and someone who could transcend time, works for the Government and has little time for his partner, Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman). She leaves him, when Dr. Manhattan sends his clones to bed with her. The movie is set in the mid-80's during the heights of Cold War, where every move was assumed to be agressive posturing or strategic build-up to war, Mr. Manhattan is taken as the saviour, who could make the crucial difference for United States, as he did a similar rescue act in Vietnam war. Even the media builds up the tempo and vulnerabilities, of people in such a situation. Rorscach, as the paranoid, who is the only one, still living in the past and can't take off his mask to blend in the society, even when he is caught by the law enforcers is amazing in his role. One of the best dialogues in the movie is reserved for him, when Rorscach, is put in the prison and has to face the criminals, he has himself put behind the bars. He obviously puts to rest any speculation on who could win the war and then he says, "When are you going to realize I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me!"
I wouldn't like to give away, who is the villain. Obviously, you could guess it somewhere in the middle. But, there are these amazing scenes, as Dr. Manhattan leaves the world and builds up his own parallel universe on Mars. The use of emotions to control and manipulate Dr. Manhattan is amazingly portrayed in the movie. As expected, the good guys get together, get into couple of usual rescue acts, before tackling their main threat. Rest is for you to find out.
As I mentioned earlier, after watching the movie, you feel...somewhere on the line between graphic novels and big screen the equilibrium is moving more towards graphic novels. I mean, you feel it's more like turning pages of a graphic novel on the big screen. I would definitely watch out for more of Watchmen in the future.
P.S. Hindi remake is not possible. Don't think about it. Enjoy the original. Period.