“I’ve seen Watchmen twice now and enjoyed it as much the second time as the first,” writes the usually perceptive and tough-minded Marshall Fine. “I’m a fan of the comic, if not a devotee. But I think it will divide audiences right down the middle, inspiring either love or hate, with little middle ground. Love is a strong term but it was as satisfying a distraction as I can remember.

“And yet what is Watchmen but yet another distraction – a bit of apocalyptic storytelling meant to take our minds off the apocalypse now?

“That’s what I hate about this moment in time: There’s no such thing as simply seeing a movie like this and enjoying it on its merits. Watchmen comes with prefabricated momentum — it’s practically mandated. But I’ll admit I was happily surprised.

“This movie delivers as a splashy, bloody comic-book adventure that stays true to its roots without being slavish about it (despite numerous images taken directly from the comic’s pages). It’s both headlong and thought-provoking, attacking the notion of heroism and the role of the hero in society in ways that The Dark Knight only talked about.”