Under Zach Synder’s heavy-handed helming, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbon’s much-acclaimed graphic novel comes off as a series of violent incidents looking for a plot. And when it shows up, it’s default James Bond; the one where a suave villain preps a nuclear attack, but makes it look like the USSR is doing it. Add in a gang of underutilized super heroes: tack on a morally dubious twist ending: trim it off with a reverse fillip (to set up a sequel); and bake. Or rather, nuke it. Things start well with a nifty montage that lays out an alternate potted-history to bring us up to 1985, but after that, Synder’s narrative instincts falter. His last film, ‘300,' was from a graphic novel one-fifth as long, and the added complexity defeats him. He covers everything up with buckets of massed effects, near visual quotes from famous pics, noise & CGI overkill; yet when he needs to block & shoot basic fight stuff, he’s all thumbs. (Watch some with the sound off to see how lame things get.) It’s certainly full of sound & fury, but the most memorable thing in here is the shifting blot on Rorschach’s knitted wool mask.
SCREWY THOUGHT(s) OF THE DAY: Patrick Wilson may get to play the one ‘regular-guy’ Super Hero, but he really should sue the film’s hair stylist. Jackie Earle Haley, playing the psychotic Rorschach, looks like the diseased love-child of Letterman announcer Alan Kalter. And then there’s poor, butt naked Billy Crudup. Forget his radiation overdose backstory, only prolonged abuse of steroids could account for the pecs & pecker.