I'm not going to spoil the movie for anyone. This is an experience, and I believe it should be seen to be felt, and therefore understood.
I haven't read the graphic novel, and probably won't. The movie stands alone, in my opinion, and considering what I've read about the differences between the graphic novel and the movie, I really have no desire to read the novel. The portrayal of V in the novel and the portrayal of him in the movie are apparantly two different portrayals. Never, in the movie, did I get the impression that V was "insane;" driven, perhaps...vengeful--with good reason--definitely, but he seemed completely sane to me. I also didn't get the impression, in the movie, that his intention was to destroy all forms of government. Rather, it was implied in the movie that he was attempting to incite the people to wake up, take control, and overthrow one form of government so that it could be replaced with a better system.
All in all, if what I have read concerning the graphic novel is accurate, I much prefer the movie and will not bother reading the book. The movie is apparantly a more up-to-date viewpoint, with a more hopeful outcome--the implication being that if we become too complacent, too compliant, we may wake up one day to realize that we are no longer as free as we thought we were...and yet, when we DO wake up and realize this, if we think about it, if we're willing, we CAN do something about it.
Let's just put it this way: if things continue on as they are, if we continue to keep our mouths shut, allowing the government to baby-step us out of our rights...
I can see this happening to us. Within our lifetimes.
I think that this movie will stay with Thinking People(tm) long after they leave the theatre. This isn't just a movie in the sense of entertainment. This is more of a wake-up call disguised as entertainment.
If you're looking for a mere action flick, something "entertaining" this movie isn't for you. This is 1984 with a hero who becomes a unifying force, who makes people think, and gives them something to believe in, ultimately changing their world.
Natalie Portman was excellent as Evey. She gave an inspiring and poignant performance, making one forget that one was actually in a movie theatre. The same can be said for Hugo Weaving (V); I was highly impressed with the fact that, though he is behind a mask the entire movie, his gestures, his voice, his bearing as V, conveys facial expression. You forget that it is indeed a mask that he is wearing.
Weaving makes V a very likeable character. One can understand, identify, and agree with his motivations, if not his methods. He's kind of like Batman, Zorro, and the Phantom of the Opera all rolled up into one fantastically heroic figure.
And in the movie (I can't speak for the novel, as I haven't read it), V IS a hero. Whether that was Moore's original intention, or the doing of the directors and Weaving, I can't say. The movie, however, tends to make one rethink one's definition of "terrorist."
This movie inspires discussion, thought, and realization. You have to ask yourself if "terrorism" includes acts which work to loosen the hold of a corrupt government which bases it's powers on fear, and uses that fear to oppress and restrict the rights of it's citizens; when do we say the government has gone too far? When, and how, do we begin to fight back in order to save ourselves? These are the questions that V asks, I think.
It seems to me that, of the negative reviews I've read, most seem to have a problem with the fact that the movie attempts to convey a moral and political warning, rather than strictly being shoot-em-up action flick...which is not entirely true. It's an "action" flick, for those not inclined to see beneath the surface or engage in deep thought about things that are important in the real world; but for those who are uncomfortable with the parallels between our world and the world of V, the "talking" part of the movie, the part that attempts to make people really THINK, is profound, and something that will stay with you long after the movie is over.
V for Vendetta is more than a movie. It has the potential to inspire a more critical state of mind--that is, it does if you go to see more than an "action flick."