Picks and Pans Review: Watchmen

updated 03/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan | R |

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ACTION
Dr. Manhattan (Crudup), a bald blue giant, ambles through much of Watchmen naked, his dangly bits swinging free. That this superhero's super parts are so often on view is one of the few ways in which this slavishly faithful and often tedious adaptation differs from the original 12-issue Watchmen comic-book series, a cult favorite since its publication in 1986. Watchmen is about the tangled relationships between two generations of costumed crime fighters (only Dr. Manhattan, the product of a nuclear lab accident, has actual superpowers) who have possibly been targeted for murder. Who might be trying to kill them? The government? Old enemies? Each other? There's much pseudo philosophizing here, stilted acting (though Haley, using a Clint Eastwood-like whisper, rises above the throng as Rorschach), excessively gory violence and, worst, a bloated running time of 2 hours and 41 minutes. Watchmen will please fervent fanboys but leave the rest of us wondering what the fuss is all about.

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