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Darren says

One of the best adaptations of Moore’s seminal work, the films stays true to the core emotional power of the books, while interpreting the regime of the enemy as more gestapo than big brother. Hugo inhabits the role with a serious demeanor and carries the tone perfectly.

Tym says

The best adaption, even with changes, ever done from Alan Moore’s formidable ouevre.

Ciaran says

The best interpretation of Alan Moore’s work onscreen.

History

Alan Moore had every right to disown Hollywood.

After the hash they’d made of the author’s brilliant work on Swamp Thing, From Hell, and The League 0f Extraordinary Gentlemen, no one sensible could blame him. Ironically, that put the pressure on empathetic filmmakers to try harder, and V for Vendetta and Watchmen turned out remarkably solid.

V for Vendetta was one of the first series that Alan wrote for Warrior magazine, a dystopian allegory that spits in the faces of 1982-era conservative repression. David Lloyd’s high contrast art evokes punk xerography, with all the gritty realism of a noir documentary. Together they created a masterpiece beyond superheroes and expectations that stands as fine literature. Beneath V’s blank Guy Fawkes mask and frozen smile lies a complexity that grows deeper with readings. He is the Man in the Iron Mask and the Phantom of the Opera and Dr. Phibes; he is Zorro and the Shadow and the Dark Knight Detective; he is Orwell’s stare and Shakespeare’s tongue and the Sex Pistols’ roar; he is the antithesis of the fascistic tool Judge Dredd, a righteous rage undergirded by unbreakable compassion.

Like his concurrent Marvelman, the series went on hold as Moore’s star rose writing American comics. But in 1988 Moore and Lloyd returned with a new third act to finish the series when DC Comics began reprinting it. Like the simultaneous new third act of Marvelman (now renamed Miracleman), Moore in mature form raises the bar beyond his acclaimed Watchmen to something equally as potent and arguably more important. Here, another voice enters into the narrative that shatters and reshapes everything to its core. Its finale transcends the book into a devastating and crucial work.

The film was screenwritten and produced by the Wachowskis, in the wake of their Matrix trilogy. Director James McTeigue gives us a terse, drum-tight compression of the basics of the story, never losing nuance or edge, with an interpolation that embodies the best of the source. Hugo Weaving is mesmerizing as the mercurial being behind the eerie grin, and Natalie Portman bares her soul in layers on her path to revelation.

While Merchant Ivory films may typify the cinema that an elite may call literate, actual activists around the world carry out real progressive change in Guy Fawkes masks because of this story. And when did those starchy films about repressed classism ever inspire that? V for Victory.

Watchmen