Ed and I saw Watchmen tonight, in IMAX glory. And I promise this (brief) review will be completely spoiler-free, so read without fear.
I either read or started to read Watchmen years ago while dating Robin. At any rate, I didn't remember anything about the plot at all, though the opening sequence of the film was very familiar and I think it was shot a lot like you'd expect from the beginning of the book. I was glad not to know the plot going in.
I should preface this by saying that I have a hard time getting into any kind of plot-based action movies, especially superhero movies. I saw Iron Man. Watched The Dark Knight. They didn't really do anything for me even when I could recognize the artistry. I wasn't really drawn in at all, and they felt tedious to watch and I waited for the plots to resolve. Honestly, I feel similarly about the more recent three Star Wars movies and about The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter movies. I can modestly enjoy them but I wouldn't go see them if they weren't blockbuster spectaculars that one should see. (And I saw a lot of those with Mosch, who always wants to have seen those movies.) Oh, and Pirates of the Caribbean and the sequels. Same deal.
But Watchmen I liked. I mean, I really, really liked it. I was aware while I was watching it that I was just having a fantastic time.
I'm trying to think why that was. I think that, unlike with most other action movies, I was actually into the characters. Other than perhaps the romantic female lead (if you can call her that), any time a character was on screen I was watching in a mesmerized fashion. I found every one of the men attractive in some unusual way. I just wanted to look at them all day. And somehow that really helps.
The movie is gory in parts - more gory than I prefer. It is probably what Robin would call "cartoon-like violence," but for me it was mostly just violence. But I was willing to tolerate it in order to see the rest of the movie, and only one part really disturbed me.
It has a lot of fighting, but as best I can recall no high-speed chasing types of sequences, which was good since those usually bore me. There was interesting machinery and structures. And beauty.
So, if you're at all inclined to see it, go. You'll probably like it.