Reading the graphic novel isnt necessary to enjoy the film, but it might help a lot. Thats because director Zack Snyders film is often extremely faithful to the novel, and the novel is far from your average comic-book story. Alan Moore, one of the novels creators, removed his name from the credits because of changes to his story, but Id argue that the changes serve the premise well. In an alternate 1985 where Nixon is still president, a masked vigilante is killed, and Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), another vigilante from a group known as The Watchmen, investigates. Haley is perfect here, as is (mostly the voice of) Billy Crudup as the blue, size-shifting Dr. Manhattan. Snyder has made a fine movie out of something originally perceived as unfilmable. Its deep, textured, riveting and well-done. Of course, its turning out to be a box-office disappointment. Go figure.