As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I noticed the first time I saw watchmen (the second time I went during work/school hours, and it was empty, something Scott Kurtz might have preferred), quite a few people got up and left. I’ve been mulling over in my mind not just the obvious “I didn’t like the attempted rape scene,” because any two-bit pundit can do that, but delving deeper into the reasons why some were so appalled by the film that they chose to leave. So dedicated am I to providing absolute top quality blogging that I have done the unfathomable, I have come up with reasons to dislike the watchmen…
All verbosity and showmanship aside, the question of why people were so affronted or bored by The Watchmen that they decided that they would burn the $10.75 they spent, rather than sit through the rest of the movie is a topic worth addressing. I mean, c’mon, less people walked out of Batman and Robin than the Watchmen from what I saw! The first, and most obvious reason that people may have been offended is simply that we as a population are pretty desensitized to seeing breasts, or even full frontal nudity on women. This movie had penises, and lots of them at that however, none were real though, I don’t think so anyway, most looked CGI or prosthetic. Pretty immediately you are exposed to Dr. Manhattan, who lives and works in the nude, and let’s be honest, nude men are not all that photogenic.
Moving swiftly and gracefully away from male nudity (or at least, I am, you may linger if you so choose), we move onto the fact that the Watchmen deals with a whole host of generally uncomfortable, or generally avoided topics, such as child murder, more realistic violence, and rape. Herein lies the true core of why many viewers were shocked by the Watchmen. The movie-going population has become used to the idea of a superhero movie, we are getting inundated with them recently, and most are fun action movies with some corny one-liners that are really typical of 80’s-90’s authors. This was an Alan Moore comic turned movie, and a faithful one at that, not V for Vendetta. This was written as a progressive “in your face” novel. We are used to bones breaking in movies, but they’re always in a jacket, or the skin doesn’t break. I’ve got news for you, that’s not how it works. I have heard many complaints about the scene between the Comedian and Jupiter, about how it was too much, or not appropriate for the movies. My response to this has been to remind them that this is a rated R movie, and for good reason. If you’re going to see a movie, and you’re unsure about it, the best course of action is to look a little bit into the subject material first. A few chapters into Watchmen, and you’ll soon find that it’s not your average superhero flick.
Another general quality of the modern super hero movie is that feeling inside you that in the end, the good guy won. Today’s culture does not seem to appreciate the old style of film noir. And the Watchmen goes even one step further beyond that, the Watchmen is ambiguous, it’s not even a cliffhanger. Nobody has any idea if Rorschach’s journal does get published, or if anyone believes a word of it, it IS Rorschach after all. Even beyond this notion lies the uncertainty about if the ‘villain’ was evil or not, or even if Rorschach was ‘good.’ Make no mistake, this is intentional, beyond the plot, subplot, and everything else, it is by firm believe that Alam Moore wrote the Watchmen to make his readers question what they saw, to make them think and reach beyond their comfort zone, something we should all try to do from time to time. In this he was successful.
There is a line in the book, as well as the film, in which a news reporter states that “God exists, and he is American,” he then goes on to say that if this makes you a little uncomfortable, then you should not worry “it only means that you are still sane.” The same can be applied to the Watchmen. If the scenes of graphic violence, attempted rape, and child murder made you even slightly uncomfortable, you should know that it’s ok, it means you are still rational.