Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is a very divisive movie that is by some considered to be a true comic book masterpiece, while others consider it an unworthy adaptation of Alan Moore’s seminal comic book. This article is written for both of these types, because it is going to list 15 movies that are similar to Watchmen in one way or the other. This way, the ones who loved Snyder’s work will have something new to watch, while those who hate it will know what to avoid.
Watchmen is a 2009 American neo-noir superhero movie based on the 1986 comic book of the same name, written and illustrated by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It was directed by Zack Snyder from a script written by David Hayter and Alex Tse. The movie stars an ensemble cast of Malin Åkerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson. A dark and dystopian deconstruction of the superhero genre, the film is set in an alternate history in the year 1985 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, as a group of mostly retired American superheroes investigates the murder of one of their own before uncovering an elaborate and deadly conspiracy, while their moral limitations are challenged by the complex nature of the circumstances.
As said, we are going to list 15 movies that are similar to Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. We have tried to include different movies based on their similarities in the style, plot, genre and general message of the movie, so enjoy!
Director: Zack Snyder
Screenplay: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Michael B. Gordon
Release Date: December 9, 2006
Running Time: 116 minutes
Starring: Gerard Butler (Leonidas), Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo), Dominic West (Theron), Rodrigo Santoro (King Xerxes), Michael Fassbender (Stelios)
Leonidas becomes King of Sparta following the Spartan ritual trials he triumphed over. He learns from a Persian messenger that King Xerxes plans to invade Greece and conquer his city but refuses to negotiate any arrangement. Against the advice of the ephors corrupted by Persian gold, he sets out to meet the enemy with the 300 best soldiers in his city, and is joined on the road by Daxos and his Arcadians.
Leonidas chooses to fight the Persian army in the narrow, rocky passage of Thermopylae, called the Hot Gates in the film. He refuses to enlist Ephialtes, an exiled Spartan, because the latter, hunchbacked, cannot properly raise his shield because of his back and neck handicap. Faced with the gigantic army led by King Xerxes himself, the resistance is heroic but desperate.
Xerxes, faced with a series of initial losses suffered by his army during the first wave of assaults, tries to defeat Leonidas and force him to surrender, but ultimately fails. He then sends his best warriors, the Immortals, but they are also repelled by the Spartans. But Ephialtes, offended by the refusal of Leonidas to enlist him, reveals to Xerxes the existence of a secret path which bypasses Thermopylae. The Arcadians retreat upon hearing the news and Leonidas, aware that his fate is now sealed, sends Dilios, one of his warriors, to Sparta with orders to tell the story of the sacrifice of his comrades.
Meanwhile, in Sparta, Queen Goro, wife of Leonidas, must face the machinations of Theron, a corrupt politician who works for the Persians, who seeks to have Leonidas removed from his throne for having thwarted the ephors. Theron blackmails Gorgo and abuses her in exchange for the promise of her support when she pleads her husband’s cause before the City Council. But, when the time comes, he accuses her of adultery and Gorgo stabs him to death. The dagger pierces Theron’s purse as it passes, and the Persian gold which falls from it reveals his betrayal.
At Thermopylae, the Persians surrounded the surviving Spartans and Xerxes demands their submission. Leonidas pretends to accept before injuring Xerxes in the cheek with his spear. Leonidas and his men are then massacred. A year later, Dilios concludes his story before an army of Spartans, explaining how this valiant resistance affected the morale of the Persian army and caused the Greek cities to unite, with 40,000 Greeks now facing 100,000 Persians on the battlefield of Plataea.
Adding 300 to our list seemed like an obvious choice. Namely, this movie is likewise an adaptation of a comic book and it was likewise directed by Zack Snyder (with similar success). 300 is an adaptation of Frank Miller’s famous 1998 limited series; this is important because Miller is regarded as one of the best comic book writers ever, just like Alan Moore, and his work on The Dark Knight Returns is considered to be a turning point in the evolution of modern comic books. Snyder worked on 300 before Watchmen and it is this movie that helped him helm the directorial position in Watchmen. The style is very similar, the adaptation mostly faithful and realistic in comparison to the original comic book, and although the plot is quite different, 300 is definitely going to provide you with a lot of entertainment if you’ve liked Watchmen.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (ULTIMATE EDITION)
Director: Zack Snyder
Screenplay: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Release Date: March 19, 2016
Running Time: 183 minutes
Starring: Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent / Superman), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince / Wonder Woman), Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth)
As a child, Bruce Wayne witnesses the murder of his parents in an alley by criminal Joe Chill. Years later, disguised as Batman, Wayne fights crime in Gotham City with the help of his butler Alfred Pennyworth. While on the street near one of his buildings in Metropolis, a fight between Superman and General Zod causes him to see many buildings collapsing, killing many innocent people, including his acquaintances from his own building.
Eighteen months later, after Superman’s uncontrolled actions, people wonder if the world really needs a superhero; Bruce Wayne also has his doubts. Entrepreneur Lex Luthor also sees Superman as a threat and asks Senator Finch to produce weapons with kryptonite against Kryptonian creatures. Finch does not give permission for this. When Superman reports to Finch at a hearing about his actions, Lex Luthor detonates a bomb killing many people, including Finch. This does not work in Superman’s favour.
When Wayne sees Superman take control of the world in a vision, he steals kryptonite from Luthor’s company to stop Superman. Luthor, seeking Superman’s attention, pushes Lois Lane off one of his buildings. Superman arrives and saves her. Luthor soon tells the angry Superman that he has kidnapped his mother, Martha Kent, thereby putting his twisted plan into action. Luthor has taken her hostage to ensure that Superman will kill Batman within an hour if he wants to see his foster mother alive. Superman has no choice and goes looking for Batman, wanting to ask him whether he wanted to join forces against Luthor.
But before that happens, Batman sees Superman as a threat that must be eliminated. When Batman appears to be winning with the help of kryptonite in the battle, Superman asks Batman to rescue Martha. Batman is confused when he hears his dead mother’s name. Lois Lane arrives and tells Batman Superman referred to his own mother. For the first time, Batman realises that Superman has no evil intentions. Batman spares Superman and rescues Martha.
Meanwhile, Superman goes to Luthor. He deals with the monster Doomsday, created from Zod’s corpse and Luthor’s blood. Doomsday is exceptionally powerful and seems to be winning against Superman and Batman. Superman and Batman see Wonder Woman, whom they previously met as Diana Prince, appear as an extra help against Luther’s evil intentions. The monster seems too strong for the trio. Superman sees only one solution and goes up to the monster with a spear made of kryptonite and pierces the monster with the spear. The monster dies but with its last strength it stabs its exoskeleton in Superman’s chest and he dies too.
Luthor is arrested and locked up in prison and Superman is buried. At the funeral, Wayne tells Prince that he has plans to form a group to fight future threats. Superman’s beloved Lois Lane is the last to throw some sand on the coffin. When everyone is gone the sand moves.
Another one of Zack Snyder’s films, Batman v Superman was a very controversial instalment within the DCEU. This film was supposed to be a major hit for the DCEU, but the theatrical cut received more negative reviews than it had been expected. Sounds familiar, right? Well, just as Synder did with his Watchmen, he soon released an extended director’s cut, the Ultimate Edition, which featured an additional 30 minutes and it did wonders for this movie. It was a passion project in a way, and combined with Snyder’s characteristic style, his gritty narration and his big plot ideas, the Ultimate Cut is a truly great movie that is going to, if you approach it in the right way, provide a lot of entertainment (and great music).
MAN OF STEEL
Director: Zack Snyder
Screenplay: David S. Goyer
Release Date: June 10, 2013
Running Time: 143 minutes
Starring: Henry Cavill (Clark Kent / Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Russel Crowe (Jor-El), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White)
Born on the planet Krypton, Kal-El is sent to Earth at a young age by his biological parents, Jor-El and Lara. This is because Krypton itself is about to explode as they have tried to tap the core of the planet for energy production. Jor-El gives his son a unique codex for the entire Kryptonian race. Before the explosion, the military leader General Zod attempts a coup d’état killing Jor-El, among others, but he and his followers are captured and locked up in the Phantom Zone.
However, the explosion of Krypton frees them again.
On Earth, Kal-El is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent from Smallville, taking a new name, Clark Kent. As Clark grows older, he discovers he has superpowers, but this makes him feel very insecure and fears he will never be accepted by others. After the death of Jonathan, Clark roams the earth for several years, secretly helping people. On his travels, he learns of the existence of a Kryptonian reconnaissance ship, which is said to be at the North Pole and guarded by the US military. When Clark enters the ship, he is greeted by a hologram of Jor-El that finally tells him all about his origins.
However, Lois Lane, a Daily Planet reporter, overhears the conversation and discovers Clark’s secret, but decides to keep it for herself. Meanwhile, Zod and his followers search for a new planet for their race, but all of the former Kryptonian colonies have become unlivable. Then they pick up a distress signal from the ship at the North Pole, which leads them straight to Earth. Zod soon realizes that Kal-El is also on Earth, and demands that he surrender so Zod can use the codex to make Earth a new Krypton. Clark surrenders to save Earth, not knowing that Zod intends to trick him. When it turns out that Zod’s plan will lead to the end of humanity, Clark and Lois escape from Zod’s ship and plan a counterattack with the army.
Clark defeats two of Zod’s helpers and destroys Zod’s machine that was meant to transform Earth into a new Krypton. The military, meanwhile, uses the spaceship to launch an attack on Zod’s ship, trapping all Zod’s henchmen back in the Phantom Zone. Only Zod escapes and fights it out with Clark. Clark manages to overpower him but is forced to kill him when Zod threatens to kill bystanders. After all this, Clark takes the name Superman and decides to become a superhero to protect Earth. He also takes a job with the Daily Planet newspaper, along with Lois.
We could just repeat everything we said about Batman v Superman here, but Man of Steel is still somewhat different. Although visually quite similar and with a darker, grittier tone, Man of Steel is a completed story that tells Superman’s origins within the DCEU in a more coherent way than the theatrical version of Batman v Superman. This movie is a must-see for Zack Snyder fans because it offers more than enough of his characteristic styles, but also some lighter moments, which is a refreshing thing to see in Snyder’s films and, in all honesty, we liked it a lot.
V FOR VENDETTA
Director: James McTeigue
Screenplay: The Wachowskis
Release Date: 11 December 2005
Running Time: 132 minutes
Starring: Hugo Weaving (V), Natalie Portman (Evey), Stephen Fry (Dietrich), John Hurt (Adam Sutler)
In a totalitarian Great Britain under the autocratic ¸High Chancellor Adam Sutler, the leader of the fascist Norsefire party, there is a suppression of dissidents and complete control of the media. This form of government prevailed as it promised security to frightened citizens at a time when the United States was engulfed in a civil war and a virus killed nearly 100,000 citizens. Sutler promised orderly conditions in Great Britain and was elected on those exact promises.
An unknown, masked man named V defies the leadership by killing senior members of the regime. As it turns out in the course of the film, he is the only survivor of an earlier forced experiment on “deviating” parts of the population to research a virus culture. This was ultimately used against the population for the leadership to take power. V wears a Guy Fawkes mask and uses the Gunpowder Plot as a motif in his speeches to underline his revenge on the leadership. His victims are primarily the heads of the prison in which the experiments were carried out, all of which now hold high positions in the new regime.
During one of his actions, V saves the young Evey from being raped by government agents, the so-called Fingermen (members of the secret police). V takes her with him to his hiding place, where she admires his collection of cultural objects that have been banned by the state censors. By taking over the media on November 5th (the day of the Gunpowder Plot), V called on the oppressed, but still deluded, population to revolt on November 5th next year.
Through his actions, he favours the education of the population about the background of the country leadership so that the uprising actually takes place at the end of the film. Evey, who had initially left V, is brought back by him to his hiding place, which he, however, stages as a torture prison. V lets her believe she is a prisoner of the government and tortures her until Evey grows beyond herself and is no longer afraid for her own existence. Evey realizes that V has developed a special protective instinct towards her. V offers the senior politician Creedy a deal to surrender in exchange for Sutler’s execution. After Creedy executes Sutler, V kills Creedy and his men but ends up mortally wounded.
He manages to drag himself back to meet Evey and dies in her arms, admitting his love for her. She then initiates the symbolic demolition of the Houses of Parliament in the presence of the policeman Finch, who discovered V’s plan and the history of the prison, which happens in front of a large mass of the population in Guy Fawkes masks, who have followed V’s call for an uprising.
V for Vendetta is not a Zack Snyder movie, but it is an adaptation of an Alan Moore comic book. Moore’s dystopian masterpiece about a masked vigilante who is fighting a totalitarian regime is regarded as one of the best anti-totalitarian stories ever written. It combines Moore’s gritty style, his ingenious narrative ideas and two great lead characters that make this story truly special and worthy of being compared to Watchmen. The Wachowskis did a good job in adapting the comic book into a script and although the movie doesn’t fully present the depth of the comic book, it is still a cult classic that you’ll certainly enjoy if you liked Watchmen.
Director: Pete Travis
Screenplay: Alex Garland
Release Date: 11 July 2012
Running Time: 95 minutes
Starring: Karl Urban (Dredd), Olivia Thirlby (Cassandra Anderson), Lena Headey (Madeline Madrigal)
In the near future, the United States become a radioactive wasteland known as the Cursed Earth. Along the east coast, from Boston to Washington D.C., lies Mega-City One, a violent megalopolis with 800 million inhabitants and 17,000 crimes reported daily. The only force in charge of maintaining order are the so-called “Judges”, who are responsible for the execution of the law and who play the role of judge, jury and executioner.
Chief Judge assigns Judge Dredd the mission of evaluating a new recruit, Cassandra Anderson, a powerful psychic who failed the aptitude tests to become a judge. In Peach Trees, a massive 200-story high-rise apartment block in the suburbs, Madeline Madrigal, a drug lady known as “Ma-Ma,” murders three drug dealers by skinning them alive after making them consume slo-mo, a new and addictive drug that reduces users’ perception of time to 1% of normal, and throws them across the atrium from the highest floor. Dredd and Anderson are sent to investigate and in the tower, they fight a group of criminals and arrest a thug named Kay who, with the help of Anderson’s skills, reveals himself to be the one who carried out the executions of the traffickers.
Dredd decides to take him away for questioning. To avoid this, Ma-Ma’s forces seize the control room of the tower and seal the building, using their armoured protection shields to simulate a security test, thus preventing the judges from leaving or asking for help. Ma-Ma orders her henchmen to kill Dredd and Anderson, forcing the judges to fight dozens of armed thugs as they try to find a way out. Upon reaching the 76th floor, the judges are attacked by Ma-Ma and her men with rotary cannons that smash the walls around them as they try to hit them and kill numerous residents. Ma-Ma sends Caleb, her right-hand man, to search for the judges.
When they meet, Dredd throws Caleb from the tower in full view of Ma-Ma. Dredd suspects that Ma-Ma is trying to silence Kay and beats him up for information. Anderson reads Kay’s mind and discovers that Peach Trees is the production and distribution centre for slo-mo. Anderson recommends that they hide while they wait for help, but Dredd insists that they climb to the top of the tower and chase Ma-Ma. Judges Volt and Guthrie respond to a call from Dredd, but Ma-Ma’s computer expert denies them entry, convincing them that the security system is malfunctioning.
A pair of armed teenagers confront Dredd and Anderson, allowing Kay to disarm and hold Anderson, escaping with her as a hostage, and taking her to Ma-Ma’s base on the top floor. As Dredd continues on his way, Ma-Ma contacts corrupt judges Lex, Kaplan, Chan, and Alvarez. The four relieve Volt and Guthrie from duty and Ma-Ma’s henchmen allow them to enter the building. Dredd meets Chan and becomes suspicious of him when he doesn’t ask about Anderson; when his alibi falls, Chan attacks Dredd, but he kills him.
Meanwhile, Kay tries to execute Anderson with her own weapon, but the DNA scanner that the gun is equipped with does not recognize him and explodes, destroying his arm. She flees and meets Kaplan, whom she quickly kills by unmasking her by reading her mind. Elsewhere, Dredd kills Alvarez, but runs out of ammo and is shot in the abdomen by Lex. Lex goes to execute Dredd, but Dredd makes him wait long enough for Anderson to arrive and kill him. Anderson and Dredd obtain the code to Ma-Ma’s apartment from the computer expert and confront her.
The evil drug dealer tells Dredd that if she dies, a device on her wrist will detonate explosives on the upper floors, destroying the building. Dredd believes that the detonator signal will not reach the explosives from downstairs, so he forces Ma-Ma to inhale slo-mo and throws her across the atrium where she is crushed to death on the lobby floor. At the end of the film, Anderson acknowledges that he has failed in her assessment, having been disarmed by Kay, and leaves. The Chief Judge asks Dredd about Anderson’s result; he responds that she has been approved.
Dredd is yet another comic book adaptation on our list, based on the comic book series Judge Dredd. This was the second adaptation featuring the titular character, after the 1995 version starring Sylvester Stallone, but was not a remake, rather a standalone adaptation. Although it might not be the best comic book adaptation out there, Karl Urban’s charismatic interpretation of the main character, as well as the film’s dark atmosphere have made it a modern classic among comic book movie fans. We included Dredd on our list because it shares a lot of elements with Watchmen, having a gritty, dark story set in a dystopian society where moral norms have been put to the test, and this is why we recommend it if you’re a fan of the Watchmen.
THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer, Jonathan Nolan
Release Date: 2005 – 2012
Running Time: 457 minutes
Starring: Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Gary Oldman (James Gordon), Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Liam Neeson (Ra’s al-Ghul), Heath Ledger (The Joker), Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent / Two-Face), Tom Hardy (Bane), Marion Cotillard (Talia al-Ghul), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake)
A young Bruce Wayne plays with a young Rachel Dawes, but falls into an old well and is attacked by bats. After his father pulls him up from the well, Bruce begins to have nightmares about bats. One night, while the Wayne family is going to the opera, Bruce is intimidated by the dancers’ portrayal of bat-like demons. Bruce panics and asks them to leave the theatre early. In the alley behind the opera, the family is met by a street criminal who – even though he says that everything will go well – takes the life of Bruce’s father and mother. After this, Bruce is raised by the family butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
Fourteen years later, Bruce returns from Princeton University to attend the parole hearing of his parents’ killer, Joe Chill. The release on probation is a result of the killer giving the police information about the mobster Carmine Falcone. Bruce plans to kill Joe Chill, but Falcone’s men do it first. When Rachel learns about this, she explains to Bruce the difference between revenge and justice, and says that his father would be ashamed if he found out about his plan. Bruce is ashamed and leaves to meet Falcone. After the fateful encounter, he hides on a cargo ship, and travels around the world looking for ways to fight injustice.
Bruce is later arrested and imprisoned by the Chinese police for the theft of some goods which, ironically, belong to Wayne Enterprises, his own company. In prison, he is approached by Henri Ducard, a man who represents Ra’s al-Ghul from the League of Shadows, a group of fanatical assassins. Wayne joins the League of Shadows in the Himalayas, and trains with them to become slicker and a better fighter. After the training, Ra’s and Ducard say that Bruce must lead the League of Shadows’ attempt to destroy Gotham City, a city that, according to the League, is a source of evil.
Wayne refuses to destroy the city he loves, and fights Ra’s before escaping. Ra’s is killed in the clash, but Bruce saves Ducard. Bruce then forms an alter ego, Batman, a masked vigilante who uses strength, intellect and a collection of high-tech weapons to fight the powers that threaten the city. He is determined to take down Carmine Falcone, but stumbles upon something much bigger than a mafia boss in Gotham: the League of Shadows and their leader Ra’s al-Ghul, who is alive and well.
The Dark Knight
In the city of Gotham, the Joker and his henchmen rob a bank belonging to the mafia. Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon decide to include the new public prosecutor Harvey Dent, who is dating Rachel Dawes, in their plan to end the mafia. Bruce later meets Dent and promises to throw a party to raise funds for him, after realizing his sincerity. Mafia bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol and the Chechen meet with other criminal bosses to discuss new problems in their activities. Lau, a Chinese accountant, says he hid all the money and fled to Hong Kong to prevent Gordon’s plan from materializing. The Joker breaks into the meeting warning that Batman is going to hunt down Lau, and offers to kill him for half the money. Everyone refuses and Gambol puts a price on the Joker’s head.
Shortly thereafter the Joker kills Gambol and recruits his men. In Hong Kong, Batman captures Lau and hands him over to the Gotham Police Department where he agrees to testify, allowing Gordon and Dent to arrest the entire mafia. In retaliation, the Joker issues an ultimatum to the people of Gotham: people will die every day until Batman reveals his true identity, resulting in the death of Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb and Judge Surilo, who was presiding over the mafia trials. Gordon thwarts the Joker’s attempt to kill Mayor Anthony Garcia and is apparently killed. As a result, Bruce decides to reveal himself, but Harvey reveals that he is Batman to protect the truth and to be arrested as a way of protection. Escorted through the city, he is chased by the Joker, but Batman runs to help. Gordon, who had forged his death manages to arrest the Joker with the help of Batman and is promoted to Commissioner. However, Dent disappears and the Joker reveals that he and Rachel were taken to separate buildings in opposite places in the city, which will be destroyed at the same time.
Batman runs to save Dent, while Gordon and his men try to save Rachel. At the same time, the Joker manages to escape with Lau from the police station. Batman ends up finding Harvey and saves him. The building explodes; Rachel dies while half of Dent’s face is burned, leaving him traumatized. After killing Lau and the Chechen, the Joker threatens to destroy a hospital if Coleman Reese, an accountant at Wayne Enterprises who discovered Batman’s true identity, is not killed in an hour. Bruce saves Reese while the Joker visits Dent at the hospital and convinces him to avenge Rachel’s death by going after those responsible. Now Two-Face, Harvey judges the Joker by tossing his coin and ends up sparing him. The Joker blows up the hospital and takes a bus full of people as hostages, while Two-Face kills Maroni and the others.
That night, civilians are evacuated from Gotham, but the Joker fills both rafts with explosives, offering both civilians and criminals the chance to live if they blow up the other vessel. Batman prevents Gordon’s SWAT teams from catching the Joker to protect the hostages and to let him capture the Joker alone. The ferry passengers refuse to kill each other and the Joker is captured, but first, he explains his complex relationship with Batman and reveals what he did to Harvey Dent, saying that although Batman is incorruptible, Dent was not.
In the rubble of the building where Rachel died, Batman finds Two-Face holding Gordon’s family hostage at gunpoint. Two-Face judges the fates of Batman, himself, and Gordon’s son. As a result of the first two tosses of the coin, Batman is shot in the belly, and Two-Face spares himself. When he was tossing the coin to determine the boy’s fate, he was attacked by Batman, resulting in his death. Knowing that the people of Gotham will lose hope if Harvey’s actions are discovered, Gordon is convinced by Batman to frame him for the deaths. The police invade the building, and the hunt for Batman begins. Gordon speaks at Dent’s funeral and destroys the Bat-signal.
The Dark Knight Rises
Eight years have passed since the events of The Dark Knight. Batman has not been seen since he took the blame for the crimes of public prosecutor Harvey Dent. The hero’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, has become a recluse, and the Wayne Enterprises begin to topple after investing in a merger energy project by executive Miranda Tate – a project that ended up being cancelled after Bruce discovered the reactor’s war potential. With the new Dent Act, Commissioner Jim Gordon and the Gotham City police put an end to organized crime, allowing most crime bosses to be arrested without trial. While Gordon gives up on revealing the lies about Dent during the Wayne Mansion party, thief Selina Kyle steals Bruce’s fingerprints and a necklace from his mother.
Looking for a missing politician, Gordon ends up finding the terrorist Bane in the sewers, as well as his gang. Gordon is injured on the run, and his speech that contains everything about Dent’s crimes falls into Bane’s hands. At the hospital, he promotes policeman John Blake to detective. Blake – who discovered Bruce’s secret identity – and Gordon, ask for Batman’s return. Bane attacks the Gotham stock exchange, using Bruce’s fingerprints to bankrupt Wayne Enterprises. Deducting correctly that a rival executive, John Daggett, financed Bane to take control of his company, Bruce hands over the domain to Tate. Daggett had been deceived by Bane from the beginning, and Bane kills him to take control of his empire under construction.
Bruce decides to return as Batman, and with Kyle’s help, he finds Bane. He reveals that he has taken over control of Ra’s al-Ghul’s League of Shadows and now plans to destroy Gotham, as Ra’s intended in Batman Begins. Battered physically and mentally, Batman doesn’t stand a chance against Bane and Bane finally cripples him, sending him to a distant and desperate prison. After stealing equipment from Wayne Industries, Bane forces Tate and Lucius Fox to reveal the fusion reactor, which turns out to be a nuclear bomb if you remove its core. Then, he lures all the cops into the sewer and uses hidden bombs to bury them underground, devastating Gotham. During a football game, Bane announces that he has a bomb capable of destroying the city and if someone tried to escape they would not be able to, because the bridges that connect Gotham to the mainland had already been destroyed in an explosion.
Bane reads Gordon’s speech in public before releasing the Dent Act convicts from Blackgate Penitentiary, including Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. The Scarecrow. Over the course of months, Bruce recovers physically and mentally, and after an arduous climb, manages to escape from prison. Back in Gotham, he gathers Gordon, Blake, Tate, Fox and Kyle to help him defuse the bomb before it is detonated. In the battle between the terrorists and the police, Batman emerges and confronts Bane again, defeating him this time. Unexpectedly Tate stabs him and reveals herself to be Ra’s al-Ghul’s daughter, Talia; she is intent on completing his father’s plans and avenging his death. Before Talia detonates the bomb, Gordon neutralizes the remote receiver, forcing Talia to go after the truck with the artefact and leaving Bane to kill Batman. Before he does, Selina Kyle shoots Bane.
Batman tries to force Talia to take the bomb to the chamber, where Fox could neutralize it, but Talia causes it to be flooded. Talia dies after crashing the truck, and Batman uses the Batwing to load the bomb away from Gotham. It explodes and apparently kills the hero. Batman is considered a living legend, while Bruce is considered dead during the revolts. His will orders him to divide up his properties to settle debts, with the Wayne Mansion remaining for Blake’s orphanage, and the rest of the fortune for butler Alfred Pennyworth. Shortly after these events, Gordon reveals a new Bat-signal on the police roof, while Fox sees that Bruce had installed an autopilot on the Batwing. In Italy, Alfred meets Bruce and Selina, while John Blake, having his name revealed as Robin, discovers the Batcave.
This one has nothing to do with either Alan Moore or Zack Snyder, but Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy is a true masterpiece of modern cinema, with its second instalment – The Dark Knight – being not just the best comic book movie of all times, but one of the best movies ever. With an ensemble cast, a great plot and Nolan’s visionary direction, The Dark Knight trilogy is a must-watch for all movie lovers and certainly something you’ll thoroughly enjoy if you’ve loved Watchmen.
Director: The Hughes Brothers
Screenplay: Terry Hayes, Rafael Yglesias
Release Date: October 19, 2001
Running Time: 122 minutes
Starring: Johnny Depp (Frederick George Abberline), Ian Holm (William Gull), Heather Graham (Mary Jane Kelly), Robbie Coltrane (Peter Godley), Ian Richardson (Charles Warren)
London, 1888. The poor live terrible lives in the East End’s Whitechapel district. Blackmailed and threatened by gangs, Mary Kelly and her small group of prostitutes are forced to work the streets every day. But they stay positive thinking it can’t get any worse than this. But then their friend Ann Crook is kidnapped. They become involved in a conspiracy that takes place in much higher circles than they will ever suspect.
The kidnapping is quickly followed by a brutal murder of another woman, Martha Tabram. They realize that they are being hunted. Soon, a number of prostitutes are being mysteriously murdered by the unknown serial killer, Jack the Ripper. They are murdered in a most brutal manner, with their bodies mutilated. Inspector Frederick Abberline is called in to solve this case. He is a brilliant but also broken man who uses a lot of drugs. He sometimes gets visions that would help him in his research. Abberline’s research shows that the killer is a learned person; the murders were carried out precisely and almost surgically.
Ann is found in an asylum a few days later having been lobotomised, as the doctors had declared her insane. The hole in her head was meant to relieve the pressure on her brain and return her to normal. After the operation, she just stares straight ahead. Abberline suspects the lobotomy was performed to silence her.
He visits Sir William Gull, a Royal Family physician, who is a local medical expert. Abberline becomes deeply involved in this case and develops feelings for one of the prostitutes, Mary Kelly. He thinks a higher power is involved in these murder cases. His boss immediately interferes and sends Abberline away. Then it suddenly comes to light that Gull is the murderer.
He is murdering the witnesses who had attended the secret, forbidden wedding of Prince Albert and the prostitute Ann. They also have a child together, Alice, who is thus the heir to the English throne. Gull himself is a Freemason and with his increasingly sinister behaviour, he describes his murderous endeavours. Queen Victoria does not want to publicly sue Gull to protect the honour of the royal family. The Freemasons decide to drill a hole in Gull’s head so that the royal family is not bothered by the scandal. Gull ends up the same as Ann, lobotomised, staring straight ahead, unable to do anything.
Earlier in the story, Abberline thought Mary Kelly had been murdered. But Gull had mistaken her for a Belgian girl, Ada, and killed her instead. She flees to her native Ireland and lives happily ever after with Alice in a cabin on a cliff by the sea. Abberline wants to go after her, but cannot. The Crown would then also be able to find her and know they killed the wrong one. So he stays in London and Mary Kelly in Ireland, and Abberline dies alone from an opium overdose.
With From Hell, we are once more returning to Alan Moore. Although this comic book is not among Moore’s more revolutionary ones, it’s still a great, gritty story about a conspiracy theory related to the case of the infamous Jack the Ripper. Despite being exactly that – just a conspiracy theory – the story presented by Moore is magnificently narrated, while balancing between history, fiction and character development. The Hughes Brothers directed a solid adaptation further augmented by Johnny Depp’s and Ian Holm’s magnificent performances. Except the style, the conspiracy element is that connects it to Watchmen, which is why we suggest you give it a try.
Director: Ridley Scott
Screenplay: Hampton Fancher, David Peoples
Release Date: June 25, 1982
Running Time: 117 minutes
Starring: Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard), Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty), Sean Young (Rachael), Edward James Olmos (Gaff)
The film is set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019. The world is in decline due to pollution and overpopulation. Man has begun to colonize (nearby) space. Androids have been developed to enable life in human-unfriendly environments and to mine mines on celestial objects. The Tyrell Corporation has produced the most advanced androids under the motto “More human than man”. These so-called replicants (‘to replicate’ means to replicate, copy, reproduce) of the Nexus 6 generation are hardly distinguishable from humans and are therefore genetically constructed.
After a major uprising in a mine that resulted in casualties, replicants are prohibited from travelling to Earth. It’s up to a special police force, Blade Runners, to hunt down replicants that do set foot on the planet. In order to be able to identify replicants, the Voight-Kampff test (a reverse Turing test) has been developed, with which replicants can only be distinguished by their lack of emotions and human empathy. Rick Deckard is one such Blade Runner who is called in to take out a group of replicants; this is euphemistically called ‘retirement’. The group of rebellious androids is led by Roy Batty, who is superior to humans in both physical strength and intelligence.
It turns out that after some time, replicants develop emotions just like humans and naturally ask themselves the same questions: “Who am I?”, “Why am I?” and ‘What do I want?’. To prevent this self-reflective functioning in androids, the Tyrell Corporation has built a safety mechanism inside them: a life span of just four years. Dr. Eldon Tyrell, founder and mastermind behind the Tyrell Corporation, leads the organization that also developed the Nexus 6 generation of androids. In order to live longer, replicant Roy Batty goes looking for him. Rick Deckard comes into contact with Eldon’s daughter, Rachael Tyrell, during his investigation as the Blade Runner.
At Eldon Tyrell’s request, Deckard interrogates her through a Voight-Kampff test and it becomes clear to him that she too is an android, although she doesn’t seem to realize it herself. Unlike the Nexus 6 generation, Rachael has been given implanted childhood memories that should allow her to better process emotions once developed. Deckard manages to “retire” three replicants, but cannot prevent their leader Roy Batty from killing his “creator” Dr. Eldon Tyrell. Roy Batty’s retirement fails, suddenly leaving Deckard himself prey in a hunt that unlocks the ever-weakening replicant on him. Deckard appears to be losing out on this yacht, but just before its final end, it’s as if Roy Batty can accommodate the emotions he has developed over his limited four-year lifespan and save Deckard from certain death.
Sitting in the rain, he finally speaks his legendary last words: “… all these moments will be lost … in time … like tears in rain. Time to die.”
Blade Runner is neither a comic book adaptation, nor does it have any straightforward connection to Watchmen. But, Ridley Scott’s science-fiction masterpiece has some connections to Watchmen and this is why we have listed it here as a film you might thoroughly enjoy. Namely, the gritty, dark atmosphere of Snyder’s Watchmen is very similar to the dark aesthetic of Scott’s film. Also, both movies tell of a dystopian society, albeit Scott’s is more cyberpunk-based than Snyder’s movie. On top of that, the lingering motif of a larger conspiracy is another thing that connects these two movies. Blade Runner is a masterpiece and a classic and is a movie you should definitely watch; if you liked this film, definitely check out the sequel, Blade Runner 2049.
Director: James Mangold
Screenplay: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Release Date: February 17, 2017
Running Time: 137 minutes
Starring: Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Zander Rice), Dafne Keen (Laura / X-23), Stephen Merchant (Caliban)
The year 2029 and no new mutants have been born for 25 years. Logan’s ability to heal himself is severely weakened and he has aged. The adamantium coating on his skeleton has started to leak into his body and slowly poisoning him. Logan works as a limousine driver in El Paso, Texas. In an abandoned smelting plant in northern Mexico, he and the mutant tracker Caliban take care of the 90-year-old Charles Xavier, Logan’s mentor and founder of the X-Men. Charles, a telepath, has now developed a form of dementia that causes destructive and even fatal seizures if not controlled with medication. It is implied that one such attack killed seven mutants a year earlier, leaving the three (Logan, Charles, Caliban) as the last of the X-Men.
Gabriela Lopez, a former nurse with the biotech company Alkali-Transigen, tries to hire Logan to accompany her and and 11-year-old girl, Laura, to Eden, a sanctuary in North Dakota. Logan reluctantly accepts, but finds Gabriela dead. In his hiding place, he is confronted with Gabriela’s killer Donald Pierce, Transigen’s cyborg security chief, who is looking for Laura. Laura was hiding in Logan’s limousine. She has skills similar to Logan’s. She, Logan, and Charles escape Pierce and his Reavers, but Caliban is captured and forced by Pierce to help him track Laura. A video on Gabriela’s cell phone shows that Laura is part of a group of children created from mutated DNA samples as living weapons. Laura was created from Logan’s DNA. As it proved difficult to control them, Transigen dediced that the children should be killed, but Gabriela and some other nurses helped some of them escape.
In Oklahoma City, Logan discovers that Eden appears in an X-Men comic in Laura’s possession, so he assumes it is a fictional location. The Reavers arrive, but Charles has a seizure, paralyzing almost everyone in the vicinity except Logan and Laura, who kill the attackers, then inject Charles with his drugs, and end the seizure. When they flee, Dr. Zander Rice, the head of Transigen, arrives to help Pierce. Logan, Laura and Charles help the farmer Will Munson and his family after a traffic accident and after some deliberation accept an invitation to dinner at their house. Logan drives out a gang of thugs from an agricultural company trying to force Will to sell his farm.
Meanwhile, Rice unleashes X-24, a clone of Logan in his prime, who kills Charles and Will’s family, injures Will badly, and captures Laura. Caliban releases grenades, kills himself and several Reavers, and also injures Pierce. Logan fights X-24, but is defeated. Will rams the X-24 with his truck, but dies from his injuries. Logan and Laura escape with Charles’ body. Logan faints after burying Charles. Laura takes him to a doctor and then persuades Logan to take her to Eden, where they find Rictor and the other children preparing to go to Canada. Laura finds an adamantium cartridge that Logan has had since his escape from the Weapon X and that he kept so that he might commit suicide. Logan decides his job is done and decides not to go with her, much to Laura’s dismay. But the children are pursued and captured by the Reavers.
Logan overdoses on a serum, given to him by Rictor, that temporarily boosts his physical and healing abilities. With Laura’s help, he kills most of the Reavers, but the serum is wearing off. When Pierce holds Rictor at gunpoint, Rice tells Logan, who killed Rice’s father years ago while fleeing the Weapon X facility, that no new mutants were born because a virus was spread through the world’s food supply. Rice is shot by Logan, who then attacks Pierce.
X-24, angry at Rice’s death, fights Logan. The children use their skills to kill Pierce and the rest of the Reavers. X-24 fatally injures Logan, but is shot by Laura with an adamantium cartridge. Shortly before his death, Logan tells Laura not to be the weapon she was made to be, and after Laura tearfully acknowledges him as her father, Logan dies peacefully in Laura’s arms. Laura and the children mourn Logan’s death and bury him near a lake, as they do Charles. After the funeral, Laura turns his grave cross on its side to create an X that will honor him as the last of the X-Men. She then travels with the children to continue their journey across the Canadian border.
As far as Marvel Comics adaptations are concerned, the X-Men movies are the only ones that really dared to cross certain borders and be more daring. Within that series, James Mangold’s Logan is by far the bravest film of them all. Bringing us Hugh Jackman’s farewell to the character of Wolverine, Logan is a dark, dystopian movie about survival, redemption and heroism. This is a true comic book genre masterpiece that you will adore and a movie that dared to do a lot of the things other movies never dared to, which is why we are sure that you’ll love it just as you loved Watchmen.
Director: David Fincher
Screenplay: Jim Uhls
Release Date: September 10, 1999
Running Time: 139 minutes
Starring: Edward Norton (Narrator), Brad Pitt (Tyler Durden), Helena Bonham Carter (Marla Singer), Jared Leto (Angel Face)
The film begins with a flashforward shot of the main character, who has had a pistol thrust into his mouth and whose voice is heard in inner monologue remembering how he got there. The narrator is a factory recall technician from a major brand of defective cars. A single thirty-something, disillusioned with life and anhedonic, he suffers from chronic insomnia and seeks a way out of his monotonous existence. Refusing to assist him with medication, his doctor suggested that he participate in discussion groups focused on various disorders and diseases, in order to put his state of suffering into perspective.
The narrator therefore joins a group of testicular cancer victims, and realizes that pretending to be a victim allows him to feel alive and to cure his insomnia. He took a liking to it and decided to join other support groups but soon noticed that a woman, Marla Singer, participated like him in all the groups. Embarrassed by the presence of another impostor, he negotiates with her so that they divide up the various weekly sessions. It was then that he met Tyler Durden after returning from a business trip. He is a charismatic soap salesman who leaves him his business card. Back home, the narrator discovers that his apartment has been destroyed by an explosion. He decides to phone Tyler and the two men meet in Lou’s Tavern.
Their discussion of consumerism leads the narrator to be invited to Tyler’s house for the night. Leaving the bar, the latter offers him to punch him. At first hesitant, the narrator decides to give him a punch. A fight ensues between them, which he finds particularly invigorating. Then Tyler takes him to the dilapidated house where he lives and where the narrator quickly takes up his quarters. The following days, the two men get into the habit of fighting behind the bar, which ends up attracting the attention of a few customers who ask to participate. Tyler and the narrator then decide to form the Fight Club, a circle made up exclusively of men, centered around ultra-violent fights taking place in the basements of the bar.
Little by little, the narrator discovers a new way of living and seeing things. Tyler pushes him to break free from social rules, which immediately has consequences for his work. But he doesn’t care because he has taken a liking to the Fight Club and its redemptive violence. On the other hand, he does not appreciate that Tyler starts a relationship with Marla Singer, and this leads him to reconsider the merits of their actions. He is particularly worried about Tyler’s latest discovery: the mysterious “Project Chaos”, which leads the members of the Fight Club to transform into a militia whose purpose remains unclear. He criticizes Tyler for keeping him away and decides to stop the project when a sabotage operation causes the death of one of their members, Bob, a friend of the narrator he met at a meeting with testicular cancer patients.
With Tyler suddenly missing, the narrator follows in his footsteps across the country, and discovers with horror that Tyler only exists in his head. He is, in fact, the victim of a split personality. Embarking on a dialogue with his other himself in which he no longer recognizes himself, he tries to discuss Tyler’s actions because the project aims to destroy buildings housing financial companies, thus erasing all traces of the country’s banking data.
Going to the police to surrender himself, the narrator discovers with amazement that his organization has infiltrated the premises. He barely manages to escape from the police station and goes to a building bomb. But Tyler appears to prevent him from defusing the explosives and they begin to fight in the parking lot of the building. The scene is filmed by surveillance cameras and we discover on the images that the narrator is fighting all alone, against himself. In her mind, it’s Tyler who ultimately wins. When he wakes up, the narrator is seated in an armchair on the top floor of a building from where he and Tyler can admire the explosion of the various buildings where they had placed the explosives. The narrator then tries one last time to reason with Tyler, but the latter belittles his pleas with contempt.
The film resumes the scene from the beginning, where the protagonist has the barrel of a pistol in his mouth. Tyler criticizes him for persisting in defending an ungrateful and unjust society. Suddenly the narrator has an idea. He notices that the gun Tyler is holding is actually in his own hand, then places it in his mouth before firing, imagining that it is Tyler shooting himself in the head. The effect is immediate: Tyler disappears for good. The next moment, he is joined by his henchmen who bring in Marla, kidnapped on Tyler’s orders. The narrator asks them to leave them alone. This is when the bombs hidden in neighboring buildings explode, causing the buildings to collapse. They both observe the scene in silence, hand in hand.
David Fincher is now one of the biggest names in modern American cinema, a genius known for his dark and disturbing masterpieces that explore the darkest corners of the human psyche. But, when he directed the adaptation of the cult novel Fight Club, he was a relatively unknown, young director, and yet he still managed to create a brilliant movie that inspired generations. Edward Norton’s and Brad Pitt’s magnificent performances, the chaotic setting and the revolutionary appeal of the movie are all things you’ll love if you loved Watchmen.
Director: Todd Phillips
Screenplay: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
Release Date: August 31, 2019
Running Time: 122 minutes
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix (Arthur Fleck / Joker), Robert De Niro (Murray Franklin), Zazie Beetz (Sophie Dumond), Frances Conroy (Penny Fleck), Brett Cullen (Thomas Wayne)
In 1981’s Gotham City, Arthur Fleck, who works as a clown on the streets and in children’s hospitals, tries to make a career as a stand-up comedian. He lives with his mother Penny in a disadvantaged neighbourhood. Arthur suffers from a condition that causes uncontrollable fits of laughter on a regular basis and at inappropriate times. Because of his living conditions, he regularly goes to a social worker, who provides him with medicines.
One day when he is attacked in the street by a gang of youngsters, his colleague Randall hands him a gun. A little while later, Arthur also starts dating Sophie, a single mother who lives in his apartment building. Gradually Arthur slips further and further down the darkness of his mind. During a clown performance at a children’s hospital, he drops his gun and is fired. On the subway, he is harassed and beaten by three drunken employees of Wayne Enterprises, the company of the powerful and wealthy Thomas Wayne, who aspires to become Gotham’s next mayor. Arthur shoots the three men. The violent event causes a stir in Gotham City.
Wayne condemns the violence, the police start an investigation and a protest movement is emerging among the population that is sympathetic towards the murderer. The protesters wear clown masks and focus their anger on Wayne. Arthur, meanwhile, is told that the social service offices he relies on for his treatment and medicines will be closed. His performance as a stand-up comedian also fails completely. In fact, his performance is noticed and mocked by popular talk show host Murray Franklin, a comedian Arthur looks up to. In addition to that, he discovers through a letter from his mother that he may be an illegitimate son of Thomas Wayne.
Arthur pays a visit to Thomas’ son, the young Bruce Wayne, and afterwards also confronts Thomas himself, who denies being his biological father. Arthur flees after a scuffle with butler Alfred Pennyworth. While his mother Penny suffers a stroke and ends up in the hospital, two police officers Burke and Garrity begin to suspect that Arthur is responsible for the subway murders. Arthur tries to find out if his mother was telling the truth about Wayne and decides to steal her medical record. In her file, he discovers that he was adopted by Penny and abused by her boyfriend as a child. Because Penny denied everything and claimed that this story was made up by Wayne, she was admitted to a mental hospital.
A shocked Arthur returns to his mother’s room, where he suffocates her with a pillow. Afterwards, he returns home and turns up unannounced in Sophie’s apartment. She is scared and asks him to leave, revealing that their relationship was actually a delusion of Arthur’s. Arthur is invited as a guest on Murray Franklin’s talk show. In preparation for his television appearance, he paints his face white and dyes his hair green. Before he leaves for the television studio, he is visited by Randall and Gary, two former colleagues. He brutally kills Randall, but lets Gary go. On the way to the studio, he is chased by the two police officers, but they lose him in the crowd, who are on their way to a rally.
In the talk show dressing rooms, Arthur asks Murray to introduce him as Joker. After his introduction, he is interviewed by Murray. Joker admits that he committed the murders on the subway and begins to explain how society turns its back on those in need. He then addresses Murray for making fun of him, after which he shoots the presenter live on television. As a result, violent riots break out in the city. Wayne and his wife Martha are shot dead in front of their son Bruce by a man in an alley. Demonstrators in an ambulance ram into the police car in which Joker is being taken away and free him. He is adored by the crowd, who cheer him on as he dances.
In Arkham psychiatric hospital, Arthur can be seen chuckling. His psychiatrist asks why he is laughing, but he doesn’t answer because he thinks she wouldn’t understand the joke anyway. A little later he walks down the corridor of the hospital. He leaves a trail of blood and is chased by some nurses.
Much has been said about the Joker during the past year and there is no doubt that the Joaquin Phoenix-led movie has become an instant classic. The story of how society can lead an individual into complete chaos amazed both fans and critics alike, and we have no doubt that we have an instant classic in front of us. Joker is definitely a dark, psychologically disturbing movie you’ll enjoy after Watchem, since the two movies share a lot of individual elements, but within a different narrative. If you liked this movie, you’ll definitely want to check out both Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, two classic Scorsese movies that inspired it.
Director: Walter Hill
Screenplay: David Shaber, Walter Hill
Release Date: February 9, 1979
Running Time: 92 minutes
Starring: Michael Beck (Swan), James Remar (Ajax), Dorsey Wright (Cleon), Brian Tyler (Snow), David Harris (Cochise), Tom McKitterick (Cowboy), Marcelino Sánchez (Rembrandt), Terry Michos (Vermin)
New York City, late 1970s: The city is populated by hundreds of gangs, all of whom are keeping a truce to prevent turf wars. The leader of the Gramercy Riffs, gang boss Cyrus, plans to unite all gangs in a huge “Army of the Night”, which would number about 80,000 members. This “army” would be superior to the police in a ratio of 4:1. He, therefore, calls a meeting in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, to which nine unarmed members of each gang are invited. But the leader of the Rogues, Luther, shoots him from behind from the crowd and is seen by Fox, a member of the Warriors, a gang from Coney Island.
Shortly afterwards, the police storm the event and the gangs flee. When the Riffs are looking for the murderer, Luther accuses the Warriors of having shot Cyrus, whereupon their leader Cleon is killed by the riffs. A female DJ on a pirate radio station informs gangs of the city that the riffs want the Warriors dead or alive. Many of the city’s gangs hunt down the Warriors. The Warriors head home without knowing the allegations. They realize that something is wrong when they are attacked by another gang, the Turnbull A.C.s, at a subway station. But they escape into the subway.
On the way through a slum they are caught by the local Orphans gang, who know nothing about the murder of Cyrus, but they can initially pass through Swan’s negotiating skills. However, a young woman who appeared shortly before, Mercy, insults the leader Sully as “soft” and incites him to a confrontation. Mercy’s incitement moves Sully to tell the Warriors to strip off their “colours” (their vests) and walk through orphan territory as civilians. Swan and the Warriors categorically reject Sully’s invitation, and the Orphans challenge them to fight. The Warriors are outnumbered and, unlike the Orphans, unarmed, but with a Molotov cocktail and with Mercy in tow, who tries to escape the desolate area, the Warriors manage to escape.
They are attacked by a group of police officers at the 96th Street and Broadway subway stations, whereupon Fox is pushed by a police officer in front of the subway and dies. The remaining members split up. Vermin, Cochise and Rembrandt make it to the train to Union Square. Swan, Ajax, Snow and Cowboy make their way through Central Park and meet another hostile gang, the Baseball Furies, who are chasing them into Riverside Park. Although outnumbered again, the four warriors defeat them and take their baseball bats from them. Ajax stays behind, molests a woman who turns out to be a police officer and is arrested. The rest of the gang then split up again to look for the others.
Swan and Mercy go back to the 96th Street subway station but are again attacked by police officers and flee into the subway shaft, where they get closer. Snow and Cowboy rush to another subway station. Vermin, Cochise and Rembrandt are lured into a trap by a gang of women, the Lizzies, but escape at the last moment. During the attack by the Lizzies, they learn that they are suspected of murdering Cyrus. They all meet again at Union Square, where they fight against another gang, the Punks. After their victory and a long drive, they arrive in Coney Island at sunrise. The Rogues followed them and led them on the beach. When Swan calls Luther to a duel and Luther pulls the revolver with which he shot Cyrus, Swan throws a knife in his arm (as Toshirō Mifune had already done against the pistol shooter in Yojimbo).
The Riffs, who have since learned from a witness that Luther was really Cyrus’ murderer, arrive on the beach and attack the Rogues. Masai, the leader of the Riffs, who wears aviator glasses and black clothes throughout the film, admits to Swan that the Warriors are pretty good, to which Swan proudly replies: “The best!” The radio DJ announces that the hunt for the Warriors is over, the accusation was a mistake and testifies to the Warriors of the honour with the song “In the City”. While the Warriors walk along the beach with Mercy, you can see how the Rogues and their boss Luther are surrounded by a huge, heavily armed crowd of Riffs and slowly drown in her screaming.
If you’re ever going to talk about cult classic movies, The Warriors should almost immediately become the topic of conversation. This “underground” masterpiece is a movie that is unique, as it is gritty. The story of a corrupt society where gangs constantly fight against each other in a dystopian state where morale is near its complete destruction captivated fans ever since the movie had its premiere in 1979. If you liked Watchmen, you’ll certainly love The Warriors, a hero-less movie that indeed does turn a group of relatively noble individuals into the unlikely heroes of a nearly destroyed society.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
Director: John Carpenter
Screenplay: John Carpenter, Nick Castle
Release Date: July 10, 1981
Running Time: 99 minutes
Starring: Kurt Russell (Lieutenant S.D. Bob “Snake” Plissken), Lee Van Cleef (Bob Hauk), Ernest Borgnine (Cabbie), Donald Pleasence (The President of The United States), Isaac Hayes (Duke), Harry Dean Stanton (Harold “Brain” Hellman), Adrienne Barbeau (Maggie), Jamie Lee Curtis (Narrator)
New York in 1997: Crime increased so much during the 1980s that conventional prisons are no longer sufficient. As a result, Manhattan was abandoned in 1988 and the whole island was turned into a maximum security prison. Anyone who is moved there is first sterilized and then left to their own devices, isolated from the outside world and with no prospect of ever escaping from the island again. This has meant that the prisoners have now developed their own forms of society.
In 1997, NATO is at war with the Soviet Union and a nuclear holocaust threatens the world. When the President of the United States and Air Force One are on the way to peace negotiations with China and the Soviet Union, terrorists hijack the plane and deliberately crash it in Manhattan. The security team put the president in an escape capsule, along with a briefcase in which a transmitter was activated and an audio cassette that contains information about a new type of energy source, nuclear fusion. The president survived the crash in the middle of the prison zone and is taken hostage by the inmates. When police forces want to rescue the president, they are received by Romero, the henchman of the Duke, ruler of Manhattan. Romero makes it clear to them that the president would be killed if further rescue attempts were made.
Therefore, prison director Hauk lets convict and ex-elite soldier Snake Plissken, who was about to be moved to Manhattan, rescue the President. Hauk promises Plissken his freedom if he manages to get the president and the audio cassette out of Manhattan safely. Because of the upcoming peace talks, time is short and Plissken only has 22 hours. To make him compliant, Hauk has explosive miniature capsules injected into his throat, which are supposed to detonate after the 22 hours have elapsed, killing him. Plissken takes a glider to Manhattan unnoticed and lands on the roof of the World Trade Center. He finds out that the President is in the hands of the Duke. He plans to use the president as a protective shield to escape from prison over the mine-riddled Queensboro Bridge.
To do this, he has his advisor Harold “Brain” Helman, a former friend of Plissken’s, draw up a map to bypass the mines. Plissken forces Brain and his mate Maggie to help him find the president. This succeeds, but Plissken is captured by Duke’s men. At Grand Central Station, Duke’s residence, Plissken has to face a life and death fight as Brain and Maggie free the president. Plissken wins and leads the President as well as Brain and Maggie to the World Trade Center, but meanwhile, his plane has been destroyed by the “Crazies”. Then the taxi driver Cabbie shows up and offers to drive her over the bridge to freedom. He also has the audio cassette that Romero gave him.
Followed by Duke and his pack, they reach the bridge in Cabbie’s taxi. As they escape, Cabbie, Brain and Maggie die, and only Plissken and the President reach the wall at the end of the bridge. Then the Duke appears but is shot by the President who, together with Plissken, is brought over the prison wall to safety by the police. The 22 hours have now almost passed and the mini-capsules in Plissken’s neck are defused just in time. Meanwhile, the President is preparing to address the peace conference participants by satellite. When the audio cassette with the information about the new energy source is played during his speech, it turns out to be a music cassette from Cabbie’s taxi. Plissken had switched the cassette and destroyed the correct one as he left.
John Carpenter’s dystopian science-fiction classic is a perfect pick if you liked the one-man crusade of Rorschach from Watchmen. Although Rorschach and Carpenter’s protagonist, Snake Plissken, are very different, their individual endeavours in a chaotic, dystopian world are much the same. Escape from New York is stylistically very similar to Watchmen and with a thrilling story and a great lead character, it is something we are almost certain you will enjoy. Add to it Carpenter’s magnificent music as well as his unique directorial style and you’ll have yourself a classic that will entertain you without a doubt.
Director: Michael Crichton
Screenplay: Michael Crichton
Release Date: August 17, 1973
Running Time: 88 minutes
Starring: Yul Brynner (Gunslinger), Richard Benjamin (Peter Martin), James Brolin (John Blane), Alan Oppenheimer (Chief Supervisor), Dick Van Patten (Banker)
The film is set in 1983. The Delos theme park imitates three popular periods of history: Ancient Rome, the Knightly Middle Ages and the Wild West. The characters in the parks are portrayed by androids, exactly imitating the appearance and behavior of people. Park visitors are equipped according to the chosen era and can do whatever they want – security systems ensure that they are not harmed in shootouts or sword fights (firearms are equipped with heat sensors that prevent an android from shooting a living creature, and androids armed with melee weapons are unable hurt the visitor).
Friends Peter and John come to Delos for an enjoyable weekend. This is Peter’s first visit to the park, while John has already been to Delos and is taking on the role of mentor, showing Peter how the park works. Choosing the world of the Wild West (i.e., Westworld), the two friends immerse themselves in the atmosphere of a typical American town, based on numerous clichés of Western movies.
In the saloon, they encounter the Gunslinger, an android portraying a bandit and provoking visitors to a conflict. Peter kills Gunslinger in a shootout, after which he and John go to the brothel. As night falls, the park’s technicians are cleaning and the damaged androids are transported to the laboratory, where they are repaired and returned to duty. The Gunslinger, repaired by technicians and returned to the park, continues to act according to his role: after tracking down his friends, he enters the room with the intention of killing them, but is re-shot by Peter.
At this time, the Delos technicians record cases of errors in the android programs of two other parks: the number of malfunctions in the work of the extras of medieval and Roman attractions is growing and spreading like an infection, and the head of the technical service suggests that the problem area will reach Westworld in the near future. Meanwhile, the malfunctions are becoming more serious: a robotic rattlesnake bites John’s hand, contrary to its program, an android girl refuses the visitor’s intimacy, although she is programmed for such behaviour.
Problems in the park reach their climax when, in the medieval part, the Black Knight challenges a guest to battle and kills him with a sword. Delos’ technicians decide to de-energize the park and are trapped in the control room. The androids inhabiting the park continue to operate on an autonomous power supply and operate according to their programs. In the morning, Peter and John wake up in a brothel and go out into the city, not suspecting that the Gunslinger pursuing them is no longer obeying the directives laid down on him.
This one is probably our most debatable inclusion, but Michael Crichton’s 1973 science-fiction cult classic is something we think you’ll enjoy. The setting is quite different, the characters aren’t really relatable, but the atmosphere of this movie, the tension it builds and the somewhat dystopian feeling it creates in the chaotic world of Westworld is something we thought you might enjoy. Yul Brynner’s excellent performance as the movie’s relentless villain gives it yet another level of quality and if you’re open-minded about your cinematic experiences, we advise you to consider this movie as well.
Director: David Yarovesky
Screenplay: Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn
Release Date: May 24, 2019
Running Time: 90 minutes
Starring: Elizabeth Banks (Tori Breyer), David Denman (Kyle Breyer), Jackson A. Dunn (Brandon Breyer / Brightburn), Matt Jones (Noah McNichol), Meredith Hagner (Merilee McNichol), Michael Rooker (Big T)
In 2006, a spaceship crashed in Brightburn, Kansas. Tori and Kyle Breyer, unable to conceive, look inside to find a child. The couple adopts him and names him Brandon. They hide the spaceship in their barn to hide the truth from him. In 2018, the ship begins delivering an alien message and pulls Brandon into the barn. He tries to open the cellar, but Tori intervenes. Brandon begins to show superhuman strength.
One day, during a confidence exercise in gym class, Brandon runs into a girl in his class named Caitlyn; she accuses him of being a pervert after seeing him in her room earlier that night. Caitlyn is forced to help Brandon get up and Brandon, frustrated with her actions, shakes her hand tightly. That night, Brandon is drawn back to the ship and breaks into the barn in which it is hidden. Tori follows him and sees him floating and singing the ship’s message: “Take the world.” Tori reveals the truth of his origins and Brandon goes wild.
He develops a thermal vision with which he slowly murders Caitlyn’s mother Erica in the diner where she works. The police find a large number of B’s on a window while investigating Erica’s disappearance. The next day, Brandon kills his uncle Noah by lifting his vehicle and crashing it. The next morning, Tori and Kyle inform Brandon about Noah’s death, but Brandon does not respond, which upsets them both. Kyle accuses Brandon of the murder and grabs him, and Brandon reciprocates by violently pushing him. Kyle finds Brandon’s bloodstained shirt and shows it to Tori, but she refuses to believe it.
Kyle takes Brandon on a father and son hunting trip in the woods. Kyle tries to shoot and kill Brandon with his hunting rifle, but the execution fails when the bullet ricochets off the back of Brandon’s head. When Brandon realizes what Kyle has just tried, he chases him down and uses his thermal vision to kill him. A sheriff arrives at the Breyers’ house and asks to see Brandon. Tori tells the Sheriff that Kyle and Brandon are not home and shows Tori the symbol found on the scenes of Erica and Noah’s death. Tori finds Brandon’s notebook with drawings of his murders and his message of “conquering the world” and begins to believe Kyle. She tries to call Kyle, but Brandon answers, implying he is coming for Tori now.
Brandon returns and begins demolishing the house, easily killing any cops who come to the rescue. Recalling that the ship could injure Brandon, Tori runs to the barn and discovers Erica’s mutilated body. As Brandon chases her, Tori tries to talk to him down to earth about how much she loves him and seems to share a real moment of compassion with one another. Then, however, Tori tries to stab him with a piece of the ship that Brandon sees coming. Angry and heartbroken, Brandon Tori flies miles into the sky above the clouds, dropping her to her death just as a plane approaches. The next day, the plane is said to have mysteriously crashed into the farmhouse. The news reports that everyone on board was killed and Brandon was the only survivor. During the credits, Brandon begins his worldwide attacks, which are covered in the news. Brandon is dubbed “Brightburn” by the media. A conspiracy theorist named Big T discusses the Brightburn incident and the existence of other super-beings and asks humanity to take action.
Finally, we have Brightburn, a relatively low-budget “dark Superman” movie that was a latent hit when it came out back in 2019. Brightburn is a twisted Superman origin story that shows us what could’ve happened had it all went to hell instead of being as it is. With a very dark, somewhat grotesque story, a lot of genuinely frightening moments and a horrifying message for the end, Brightburn is probably the dark story you’ll thoroughly enjoy if you liked the atmosphere of Watchmen.
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