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Watchmen Interpretation of Comic and Movie

Postby Klendathu » Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:01am

Having listened to the recent podcast, some critique on the Watchmen movie struck me as odd. This is why I start this rather lengthy post WHY the movie works for the most part and where it deviates.

First on my list are the characters. Just as Forrest Gump, none of them are meant to be real, they are personifications of America.

The first batch of walking metaphors are the Minutemen: Hooded Justice, who is hinted being a German immigrant. His vanishing after WW2 is no surprise, as this element of American society mostly vanished as well. Dollar Bill is the personification of the "new deal". He gets shot in the face like the new deal legislation was during the 40ies' war economy around 43. Mothman represents the lunacy of early 20th century, a lot of quacks selling pseudo scientific items, he got locked away to make way for the advent of Manhattan. Metropolis is part of the old isolationist America of pre WW1. Trying to get all groups together but failing to do so. Night Owl is the decent America, trying to do the right thing, but ultimately feeling like a looser because of going the moral high road. Silhouette is the morally loose America of the 20ies. She gets killed after WW2, a time where the looser morals of the 1920ies were rejected again. The Comedian ends up being the America who came out of WW2 victorious. He embodies everything people after WW2 hated about the U.S. and loved about the U.S at the same time. That's what they got, a cynic, a drunk, a rapist, a compassionate patriot, a funny guy, a guy trying to do the right thing and having no illusion on how things really are and what he has to do from his point of view. Maybe not your choice but not somebody you really hate, even for his major flaws. A guy scarred by Vietnam in a very literal way. OF COURSE Silk Spectre 2 is his child, who else would she be, the Comedian was the big legacy of 20th century USA.

The generation after the Minuteman is "ruled" by Dr.Manhattan, the walking embodiment of science. To some a god, to others a solution, all powerful, yet with no connection to humans. Utterly disconnected from most emotions and especially from time. People in the comic do not complain about Dr. Manhattan, they complain about the nature of science. Ozymandias is the cooperate America, sure he is slimy, totally amoral at times; sure he strikes us instantly as the bad guy. Right now we are totally suspicious about coorporate guys. Though he complains of having no real enemies, he is his own worst enemy. The comic says in 1985 what we now know became the truth. Cooperations will take over, cold war politics will crumble. Ozy standing in front of Studio 54 is a nice little nudge at commercialization of the "art" happening there. Ozy can take over anything. Night Owl is Night Owl, he has not changed, he is just a different person, still the guy too decent to really step over any line. In the end he won't resist Ozy too much and follow his reasoning. Rorschach is his counterpart, the obsessive can't quit America. The comic often says how good a team Rorschach and Night Owl were, because the really can push each other to the limit, but prevent each other from going over the limit at the same time. They still have to deal with the Comedian being the leading influence and the goon of choice for the government (along with science). But all the other aspects are banished from the government and live mostly meaningless lives.

The Comedian, being as insightful as ever, sees the new order which is going to replace him. Which breaks him, because he fought all his life, not believing he would one day be replaced by this. It is only befitting that he gets shoved out of the window by Mr. Cooperate America, Ozymandias.

The comic ends with an artificial exterior threat being the catalyst for change. Some space alien psycho goo, cooked up by creative madmen. The movie ends with the threat being something "interior", science. Two radically different endings really. One says human kind will only unite against exterior threats, while Snyder says humanity will unite in the face of their potential self destruction through science.

Both versions end with no option to make a sequel today. Because we have yet not identified the next generation of American aspects we could transform into superheroes. Maybe in 20-30 years, when we can once again observe the recent past, dress up a society in the guise of different superheroes and have them tackle their problems and issues again.

And that is for me Watchmen in a nutshell. A different kind of Forrest Gump. Not telling the reader what Forrest Gump was during his life, but a scenario how representations of society fight out a war for the future of mankind. For good or bad they don't know, only the best intentions on the road to hell. Maybe in 2035 we can have Watchmen 2. But not before, the society Watchmen requires to mirror has not evolved enough yet to spawn a totally new set of superheroes.
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Re: Watchmen Interpretation of Comic and Movie

Postby LiQuid » Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:31am

I think this might be GBDF's first tl;dr! :lol:
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Watchmen Interpretation of Comic and Movie

Postby Justinrep » May 20th, 2018 @ 12:53pm

Comic panels just doesnt deliver as much emotion and appeals as manga panels.

Sorry brah.

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