Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I watched The Watchmen and Slyde asked what I thought

Slyde is a blogger who enjoys swimming in the nude late at night. In his own pool. He got caught a few nights ago, being all nudie and swimming. It was a very funny post.

This is not Slyde. This is Alan Moore. He created The Watchmen. He looks exactly like I thought he would.

Before we begin, I must confess I knew very little about Mr. Moore or The Watchmen before I watched the movie. And I still don't.

I had seen about 2 minutes of a profile of Mr. Moore, produced by CBS Sunday Morning. I had learned that Mr. Moore was an Anarchist and not just for show. Which is important to understand as we examine The Watchmen.

Anarchy is a political philosophy. One of many.

I have dated a number of guys who were very much into their political philosophies, both left and right. The degree that they were devoted to their philosophy was in direct proportion to how much of an asshole they were. For example, if the guy was only slightly devoted to the left or the right, he was only slightly an asshole. This is important to know about me, as I examine The Watchmen.

Moore appears particularly devoted to his political ideology. Thus, I imagine he is very much an asshole. I can guarantee he has had at least 2 divorces in his life time. Betcha ten bucks. Lemme go check. YEP. Divorces.

Luckily, Moore has some awareness of what he is. Luckily, he made a comic book about it. That's what The Watchmen is. Moore's person drawn and quartered, hung out to dry. It blends his political and personal narratives. Which makes for awesome fun.

NOW-on to the movie itself . . .

Here's a quick summary: The Watchmen are a group of Superheros that began somewhere around WWII. Members of the group eventually died off, went crazy, were killed or just faded away. Here is what they looked like when they called themselves the Minutemen.

They were replaced by a new group of Watchmen.

However, the new group of Watchmen had an original member in their midst. His name is The Comedian. He's not very funny though.

Here is his insignia. This will be important later.

Their task in the film, as with all Superhero movies, is to save the day. All while Moore displays and works out his personal demons through the various superheros comprising the Watchmen. Again, great fun with this film.

My favorite character in all of this, and the one I believe is closest to Moore himself, is Rorschach. (That's him, right up there). Get it? Rorschach. Rorschach is man deeply stewed in morality. Which, in theory, is nice. It's nice to know that he has a moral compass, feels the need to create a utopia from this world. It's nice, but not really practical.

Rorschach narrates the film much the way DeNiro narrates Taxi Driver. Going on and on about filthy streets and whores. Inwardly, he rages against evil. It turns his meat and bones into a tough, jerky like substance. He becomes unyielding, unbendable and uncompromising.

Rorschach without the mask.

It also turns him into an violent asshole. Which he acknowledges in one scene. He apologizes for being so hard to live with to his friend. Warmed my heart that scene.

The problem that Rorschach struggles with, is that evil can never be done away with. There is a duality of good and evil in everything. Which brings us to this character. The Comedian.

Again, The Comedian is a carry over from the first group of Watchmen. He has good and evil pouring out like sunshine. He is without clear boundaries or intent. It is muddled and never quite clean with him. He is evil to further good. Which is funny. Not funny ha ha, but funny as in ain't that a bitch.

His daughter is this woman.

She is an ingenue of sorts. With a jonez for powerful Superhero men. Which is why she leapt at the chance to date this guy.

Dr. Manhattan is the most powerful of the lot. Bending time and matter to his will. He is also the most emotionally disconnected of the group. Which makes sense. The ties that bind people to others, what makes us feel love and close to each other, is knowing how finite life is. This guy is immortal and has absolute permanence. He has to work to make things precious, to see miracles.

Such disconnect eventually leads her to disconnect from him. She leaves him. They fight about it, while on Mars. I was tickled and enraged by this scene.

They sound like they are in a session with a couple's therapist. She says, "I need you." and "You have no idea how that makes me feel." And he says, "If I say I am sorry will you stop crying?" And "You just can't see it from my perspective."

He is not listening and worse, he's placating her. It is a subtle form of bullying in this scene. Then, he started using intellectual double speak to invalidate her feelings. She has her heart out, asking him to love her, asking him to see the miracles she sees all around her. Then he says, "Miracles are, by definition, meaningless."

I really wanted to punch him during that scene. Just haul off and clock him until a tooth fell out. Then I realized, "Oh yeah, I stopped dating assholes a long time ago." It's ok now, I don't have to feel like that anymore. Just because there is evil doesn't mean I can't thrive in my world. A world were miracles and wonders never cease.

In the end, their goal becomes realized. The world fits back together again. But this time, all the pain and misery of life is no more. Which is very different than any other Superhero movie. Most Superhero movies have the hero save the day and then save it again when a new evil pops up. But this time, the day is saved forever.

Which is funny considering the title of it all. One would assume that The Watchmen are Superheros that watch over us. Taking care of us little people. They are Superheros after all. But they aren't watching over us.

Their job is tending to the gears and switches of good and evil. To keep everything working in harmony so time can keep marching on. They are the Watchmen after all.

Which is funny. Not funny ha ha, but ain't that a bitch kind of funny.

5 Left a message at the beep:

The Savage said...

The thing I liked most about The Watchmen (both graphic novel and movie) is that the heroes all have very human characteristics They are debase with only one truly ideological super hero type person, Night Owl....
I have known people like most of the characters....
That's what makes The Watchmen rock....

The Dental Maven said...

I love your analysis of asshole-ery!

B.E. Earl said...

Deja vu?

Mrs. Holly Hall said...

Savage: Yeah, the characters are what I dig the most! so much fodder to wrap my head around. YAY!

Maven: Yeah, lots of x bf baggage came out. Felt good though. Gotta purge that stuff!

Earl: YOU LONG TIME READER YOU! I need to bust out some good stuff for the newbies to let 'em know what Mrs. Hall is made of :)

Christine said...

I wanted this movie to be more than it was. When it was over, I found myself saying, "Huh?"

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