Watchmen Review: The new DC series from HBO sets new standards for the superhero genre

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watchmen looking glass Watchmen HBO TV series

The sheer spread of superhero culture in this century – even more so in the past decade – has prompted filmmakers to take unexpected paths. That gave us genre crossovers from epochs of war (wonder woman) to animated parodies (The Lego Batman Movie), very confident comment (Dead Pool) to counteract even the most serious dramas (Logan) and fresh visual styles (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) or acoustic experiences (Black Panther). More recently, some have played with the limits. The boys half successfully touched how superpowers and a capitalist world could easily spoil people joker delivered a cynical character study, albeit controversial and irresponsible. Enter HBO & # 39; s Guardian,

Based on the 1980s DC comic of the same name by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Moore's name is missing in the credits because he doesn't want to have anything to do with adjustments, while Gibbons is also listed as an advisory producer – the new version of the television series comes from Damon Lindelof, who was previously co-designer and showrunner of the successful supernatural science fiction drama Lost and the largely unknown supernatural mystery drama The Leftovers. Lindelof takes it up Guardian is, in a way, a continuation and a reinterpretation of the comic. It still takes place in an alternative reality in which Vietnam is an American state, with the exception of today's state, which has pager instead of the Internet, and in which Robert Redford – yes, the actor – has been the US President since 1992.

Since the events of the comic 34 years earlier in GuardianIn the past, there were only a few members of the team of the same name in 2019 – Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias (Jeremy Irons) and Laurie Blake / Silk Specter (Jean Smart). Doctor Manhattan is repeatedly mentioned as living on Mars, but is not shown, at least in the first six episodes to which critics, including us, have had access. This means that there are practically no super powers in the new HBO series. For what it's worth Guardian has a lot of strange events to offer, be it an alien conspiracy, a Vietnamese billionaire or a Veidt who is stuck in a clone world. Lindelof has a lot of experience dealing with mysterious twists from his lost days and likes to play with it to amaze the audience.

But that's just the side dish. The meat and potatoes of the new Watchmen television show are a thorough study of racial inequality in the United States, with Lindelof – as the creator and lead writer – apparently interested in examining its cross-generational impact. Guardian goes to great lengths to demonstrate the hatred, violence, injustice and neglect of African Americans, and how this leads to corrosion of society itself. The HBO series deals with the different topics in different periods, from the Tulsa massacre in 1921 to the modern rise of the white Supremacist groups. there Guardian is both timeless and timely as it touches on the racial segregation that exacerbated in the era of Trump, who encouraged the white supremacist cause.

Mostly located in the city of Tulsa in the central US state of Oklahoma, is the focus of Guardian is Detective Angela Abar / Sister Night (Regina King). Angela adopted her masked alter ego after a white supremacist described her as "basically the clan with different masks". A few years ago, she launched a coordinated strike against Tulsa's police and family in response to the handover of reparations to victims of racist violence. The event is now known as the "White Night" because the attackers were wearing all Rorschach masks, a former guard who is now described as deceased. While most police officers in Tulsa are now wearing yellow masks to protect their identities, some like Angela have taken on a cover identity and are "retired" in the public eye.

These efforts have helped reduce crime in Tulsa by 80 percent, despite being a by-product of significant police brutality, according to local Oklahoma senator Keane (James Wolk) as he tries to get himself and his policies to sell. However, a three-year peace is disrupted after a member of the Seventh Cavalry almost killed a patrol officer. This brings Laurie Blake (Smart) into play, who left her days as Silk Specter, personal and professional partner of Doctor Manhattan, to become an FBI agent. It is now helping to catch vigilantes who are outlawed in the Guardian like they were in the comic. In the meantime, Adrian Veidt (Irons), the only former member, seems to be casting his own series – although he has an interesting appearance elsewhere – as he lives all alone in a castle somewhere. He has been officially declared dead, although rumors still exist.

future Guardian Episodes expand the depth of the series to investigate the crime history of Angela's family and her costumed detectives at the Tulsa police, including Wade Tillman / Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson), who wears a reflective silver mask on his mask, and Red Scare ( Andrew Howard), a self-described communist in red clothes. Further vignettes shed light on the connection between the Vietnamese trillionaire Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) and the plot, which with its enormous fortune is building a new wonder of the world near Tulsa. Guardian There is a lot to tell, and although most of it is handled, played or presented well – the sixth episode is particularly well done – it is sometimes delivered inelegant.

watchmen looking glass Watchmen HBO TV series

Tim Blake Nelson as a mirror (third from left)and Regina King as sister night (second from right) in the Guardian
Photo credit: Mark Hill / HBO

In fact, the production of the HBO series is top notch in every way as you would expect. This visual treatment is complemented by the works of Oscar and Grammy winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, whose music sometimes has the same unpleasant eerieness as Twin Peaks. The soundtrack is otherwise versatile and consists of songs across genres and periods GuardianHistory travels through decades of the previous century.

This means Lindelof's desire to deal with contemporary American issues Guardian It's largely self-serious, but it makes room for a bit of humor, which is largely a result of bumps that go back to the superhero culture of the HBO series. A Batman lookalike is said to look foolish in one episode. Some of this is a variation of the comics: An FBI agent ridicules a "historically inaccurate" television series based on Minutemen, a 1940s superhero team that was also part of the comic. By making it a modern show within a show – it's called "American Hero Story" along the lines of the similarly titled anthology series – Guardian tries to find out how nostalgia and superheroes have taken over pop culture. The unconfirmed joke is that it's part of it too.

Only that it's a nifty side dish. It is clear that Lindelof uses the superhero aspects of Guardian as bait to attract viewers, hoping to get them involved in a rich, heavy drama that forms the core. However, this core is very American and therefore may not affect parts of the international audience. Lindelof is probably betting that he can spark their interest and make them hang around by spraying mysterious elements influenced by his time as a veteran author at Lost. Guardian is of course not a show for most fans of the superhero genre (or lost fans), but those who are willing to stay open will find a relevant socio-political series that has a lot to say about us.

At the same time, Guardian is driving the superhero genre in a better and more successful way than other adjustments claimed this year.

Guardian Premiere on October 21st on Hotstar and on November 24th on Star World in India.