I don't know anything about the original Watchmen work, so I can look at the film with completely fresh eyes. After all the fuss in its development, going through decades, studios and directors, the end result is a Zack Snyder three-hour adaption that's trying its best to please everyone. But like I said, I don't care about that - I've only learnt the history after watching the film. The good news is that, despite going though flashbacks and exposition, it never seems convoluted. No film would be this concerned with the origin stories of its retired superheroes without owing a debt to source material, but it manages to stay interesting long past your legs have gone to sleep. And for all the angling at political depth, it's the twist on the genre that impressed me. Outside of a few recent examples, comic book films can be stuck in the conventions of Hollywood action. Fun but formulaic, with good and evil and a masterplan that'll definitely be foiled. Yes, Watchmen has an unfortunate accident in a physics-lab, but it does things differently. Some of the superheroes aren't heroic at all, there's no obvious villain for most of the film, and the conclusion probably confused half the people in Hollywood. It's easy to see why it almost never got made.
I wonder what all the other directors would have made of it. Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky, Paul Greengrass. Looking at those names, I can't help but think they missed a huge opportunity, but as it is, with all the Zack Snyder powing and thwacking, it's pretty good.