It was, in fact, quite good, though I think the denouement was seriously overplayed. But hey, that's not unfaithful to the original.
On thing that really struck me, however, was the characterization of the violence. Because there wasn't just one kind of violence in this film (which is, you know, not unexpectedly an extremely violent film) but rather moments of just about everything from extremely comic-booky superheroic combat, to Hong Kong martial arts poetry-of-ultraviolence, to cinema verite, to splatterpunk.
And I thought it was particularly interesting in terms of storytelling choices how that violence was used.
Rorschach was exceptional. Jackie Earle Haley has totally converted me into a fan, and I'd never heard of him before. Oh, and IMDB tells me he'll be in Shutter Island. Score. I commented after the movie that "Rorschach is Dexter Morgan done right," and I kind of hold to that. (Of course, Dexter's supposed to be a Ted Bundyesque charming sociopath, but you know what I mean.)
I was somewhat unsettled by the cheering teenage Rorschach fans on our immediate left. Ahem.
Anyway, Rorschach is splatterpunk. His violence is well into Poe's grotesque, with severed limbs, snapping fingers, walls of blood, and folks dropped down elevator shafts.
The only time he drifts into the comic-book metaphor is when he's fighting Ozymandias (I loved the dual pronunciation of the name. Win.), and until the absolute end of the movie, everybody drifts into comic-book metaphor when fighting Ozymandias. His metaphor trumps everyone else's. Even the Comedian, whose other fight scenes are shown with a brutal realism that would not have been out of place in a David Cronenberg film (when he kicked Sally in the stomach, even one of the teenaged Rorschach fans grunted in sympathy), gets a comic-book fight with The Man In Black.
In between these three poles lie Dan and Laurie, who collectively have a kind of Hong Kong action movie buddy pic thing going on. It's got the element of ultraviolence--compound fractures and cracked heads--combined with the comic-book reality of perfectly timed punches and fighting in high heels.
(In two totally unrelated notes, man, there sure were a lot of white people in that property. Also, can we talk about the unconvincing age makeup on Carla Gugino? Hiring a woman my age to play the role of a woman in her sixties strikes me as, well, wincingly Hollywood.)
But when Nite Owl fights Ozymandias, he slips entirely into the comic-book metaphor, where every punch is a wildly telegraphed roundhouse blow and swirling capes dominate the panels. Until the end, when it's Dan beating up Adrian, close in, face to face, and we're back in the land of Cronenberg: tight, realistic, unpretty violence. The real world is beating the shit out of the comic books.
Very cool. Very cool indeed.
I wish they'd let Jon keep his killer exit line.
In other news, the snot fairy is still in residence, which made climbing last night less fun than it might have been. I'm going to try to make it to the gym today, though, as I'm pretty sure I'm no longer contagious, and the body requires exercise.