In an alternate 1980s America, costumed crime fighters have been outlawed, and someone is murdering the retired heroes as the United States and USSR careen toward all-out nuclear war. The legendary Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons graphic novel comes at last to the big screen after many false starts over the last 20 years—and it was worth the wait. Writers David Hayter and Alex Tse and director Zack Snyder eschew the stylized look of other graphic-novel films (Sin City, 300) in favor of a sharply gleaming realism, and it’s a good call, giving the complex, delirious story a hard-edged sense of conviction. The book’s many fans will find the casting pitch-perfect (Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Crudup, Malin Akerman, etc.) and the adaptation intelligent and respectful. A sterling production right down the line.