“Watchmen”: when comics go political

Watchmen

There was a certain amount of curiosity when this new Tv-series based on the popular graphic novel by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore (who never wants to take credit every time his works are adapted for the big or small screen). “Watchmen” has been, since its release in 1986, the epitome of the polarizing contrasts of politics and moral, of revenge and justice. Always very controversial but poignant, it reflected a new world embracing modern capitalism and divided between the US led by Ronald Reagan (even if in the book the President was still Richard Nixon) and the Russia dealing with the modernizing politics of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Damon Lindelof (“Lost”, “The Leftovers”) approaches to this huge material from a different point of view. No reboots, no remakes, just a sequel of the events happened in the comic book, but starting with the retelling of the devastating massacre of the black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, happened in 1921 and carefully hidden from history books from then on. An event which echoes in the story-line and is the main cause of some of the plots.

We follow Detective Angela Abar (Regina King) as she tries to discover the truth behind a horrible murder, touching her personally, while the white supremacist Seventh Kavalry is raising up their heads again to fight minorities and the Police. Meanwhile, Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons) is enjoying a golden retirement in a wonderful English countryside manor, FBI agent Laurie Blake (Jean Smart) investigates too and confronts herself with her own past and billionaire scientist Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) seems on the verge of replying the famous “act” which saved the world from WWIII claiming however a huge human toll.

Better say no more about “Watchmen”, probably the most challenging Tv-series of the year, which mixes brilliantly action and politics, distopia and history, with an overwhelming baggage of references, ready to be watched again and again to plunge even more deeper in its world and language and be scared by its contemporary message. An amazing cast (which also includes Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Frances Fisher and Louis Gossett, jr.) perfectly serves a story of violence, where no one is clearly the hero and secrets pop up at every corner. Its visual richness and the score composed by the very inspired duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (unmissable their piano tribute to “Life on Mars?” by David Bowie) are a further asset for a first season which will remain in history.

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