It's the movie they spent more than 20 years failing to make. Alan Moore and David Gibbons' groundbreaking graphic novel was simply un-filmable, many notable figures declared (Moore included). Terry Gilliam couldn't do it. Darren Aronofsky couldn't do it. Neither could Paul Greengrass. It's understandable, then, that director Zack Snyder and studio Warner Bros were quite proud of themselves when Watchmen finally made it to screens, made with a blockbuster budget in an unflinchingly adult-oriented adaptation which adhered closely to the graphic novel, its harsher beats included. However, in making a film which so slavishly recreates the visual element of the source material and follows its narrative structure so precisely (the altered ending notwithstanding), Watchmen is a film with no personality of its own.
It's an entirely surface-oriented facsimile, demonstrating little understanding of what Moore and Gibbons' book was really all about. This isn't a film in which superheroes are shown committing deplorable acts in order to question their supposed heroism, draw attention to their human frailty, and critique the power structures they serve. This is a film in which heroes viciously beat up bad guys and have athletic sex because it looks cool.
An R-rated adaptation of a mature readers' comic it may be, but it still comes off utterly juvenile, appealing to pretentious adolescent notions of what constitutes depth and edginess. Worst of all, though, is that all concerned truly seem to think they're making high art. This was hammered home by the poster declaring the film to be "from the visionary director of 300."
Few things warrant scorn and ridicule more than such flagrant self-importance.