Today’s guest post comes to us from Eric LeVan. I have the distinguished pleasure of working with this gentleman on a daily basis. I asked for guest posts and he responded by sending me his thoughts on the movie Watchmen. My original thoughts on it can be found here. Eric’s personal blog is Cheesy Bacon Jesus.
Since it appears that the entire world has a subscription to Netflix, I decided to join up for the free month of snail mail entertainment, and the occasional instavid. One of the first movies I placed in my queue and therefore received was Watchmen.
While the only two comics I’ve ever actually read religiously are The Exiles and Kick-Ass, I generally have a pretty good knowledge of a comic’s back story before I see the motion picture rendition. Watchmen was an exception. Knowing nothing about Watchmen before viewing it, I was amazed to discover that in lieu of being a cookie cutter superhero movie, it was in fact a philosophical challenge of self discovery with the more general theme of the cause and effect of human nature surrounding it.
My expectations were simply another super hero movie that would probably fail to generate any type of connection with its audience–one that was fully meant to appease the general nerd public and to line the pockets of the studio that created it. So easily it seems that the quality of films coming out today suffers through remake after remake and general lack of originality.
Watchmen started off strong with the assassination of The Comedian, a superhero with superior fighting skills, whom at the time I was not sure was a good guy. After the assassination sequence, the film led you down a montage of the past showcasing super heroes who either died or went into hiding in order to avoid the backlash from collateral damage and public unease that their existence seemed to generate. This was all in response to the growing cold war in which Richard Nixon was entering his fourth term as president, a real doppelganger to FDR.
The main plot of the movie is spent looking back through the history of the superheros and their trials and tribulations. The main focus is The Comedian since in present time, the remaining group of super beings is trying to uncover the details of his murder. The Comedian is truly an antihero. He killed his enemies and sometimes civilians without hesitation and he laughs about it only because it’s all one big joke, that in the end, in the grand scheme of the universe, it all truly doesn’t matter. This theme is repeated throughout the movie by the nuclear wonder, Dr. Manhattan.
With Watchmen, I found that I rather enjoyed the occasional non sequitur of deep thought moment to bone crushing violence. It was certainly a far cry from the norm and anyone that knows me knows that I love innovation on existing genres. It felt like I was watching an illegitimate love-child of the X-Men and The Incredibles and I rather enjoyed it.
The character “Dr. Manhattan” weirded me out a bit, however. While he was purported to be an omniscient being, the result of a nuclear experiment gone wrong, he was still taken advantage of in multiple ways, causing him to simply teleport to another galaxy at the end of the movie (spoiler alert, Snape kills Trinity with Rosebud). It begged the question, why had he even joined a “side” in the complex turmoil involved amongst the world’s nations. It was said over and over throughout the movie that he simply didn’t understand humans, yet there was scene where was making guerillas in the Viet Cong explode. As a super-set to all the other superheroes he just didn’t seem to fit among the story very well while still playing a crucial role in its development.
I absolutely loved Rorschach. He was a character that I simply wanted to be. He overcame a childhood of extreme negativity and used it to fuel not only his abilities, but his commitment to truth and justice. His superhero persona was absolutely perfectly fitted to him and wasn’t indicative of the usual “Awesome Man” super-being nomenclature. I truly felt for him throughout the whole movie. Of all the characters, he had only one crisis of conscience throughout the course of the movie, and once he overcame it, he set himself on the right path until the very end.
All around I’d call it a very fun watchable good movie, although the Dr. Manhattan thing still doesn’t sit very well with me. Watchmen mixed broken souls, astrophysics, sweet violence and nudity all into a tasty cake of storytelling. I greatly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great story about extraordinary people coming to terms with their own ordinary flaws.