Second Thoughts

For all of my bitching about the Watchmen, I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. Why is that I wonder? Is it because I am finally digesting the movie as a whole? Have I suddenly realized that the reason I didn’t seem to care for it was because I’ve been wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to humanity? That the Comedian was really the metaphor for our entire race; animals without consciences until the damage has been done?

Seriously though, maybe the reason I didn’t like it and I didn’t care for any of the characters (although I found a few interesting to watch) was because it paints a very sad picture for the future of this race. I have been tralalalaing through life hoping that we learn from our mistakes but in the end we only stumble upon our senses of self and continually make new ones.

I mentioned in the previous post that I am not bothered by gore and violence in ultra-stylized movies because I know it’s not real and I’ve learned to turn that part of emotion off while watching. I think my own numbing agent is finally wearing off, and I finally realize why I didn’t like the movie.

I don’t much like humanity.

7 thoughts on “Second Thoughts

  1. Before you jump all over me. I’m speaking in a sweeping general sense. I tend to surround myself with the cream of the crop that actually value the outcome of their decisions enough to make them worthy of the title “human.”

  2. Anyone who would jump all over you deserves to be kicked in the shin: Watchmen (comic and movie both) does paint a bleak picture of the human race, and presents its “heroes” as profoundly flawed examples of the species.

    It’s a bleak conception, but I don’t know if it’s a completely hopeless one. The Comedian is a horrible, horrible person, but even he has a human credential (something that suggests he isn’t as abyssmally awful as one would like to think) in the forms of two characters (one major, one minor).

    As characters, the Watchmen represent extremes: The Comedian isn’t a total representative of the human race, but he is a representative for aspects of it, just as Doctor Manhattan represents another dimension, and Rorschach another. Nobody’s really like any of those people, but of course everybody is, and that’s the point. One reason the Watchmen fail–and I don’t think that’s a spoiler, to be honest–is that they are unbalanced caricatures of human dimensions.

    Part of what’s interesting about the whole story is that there’s nothing, for want of a better word, convenient. The story (and titular team of heroes) has a conscience: but he’s a murderous psychotic whose sense of order is so absolute it’s unworkable. There’s a warm and human character, but he’s basically impotent (in one scene, literally so). There’s a voice of reason, but it’s so dispassionate and divorced from human experience that it ends up forming a polar opposite to the aforementioned conscience. I don’t think Moore did this to discredit any of these things–it’s not an accident that Watchmen‘s psychotic, reactionary voice of justice also happens to be a fan favorite and one of the story’s most affecting characters (his final scene in the comic and in the movie, in which he effectively surrenders without compromising, is surprisingly moving). I think, rather, that Moore is trying to get us to think about these things, and not take them for granted or write off the costs they bear the way we’re inclined to. And that’s why things like Time Magazine’s inclusion of Watchmen as one of the best books of the century isn’t quite as ludicrous as it seems at first thought: Moore brought the concerns of serious literature to the funny books, and the movie (being so slavishly devoted to the book) is a near-direct port of those concerns.

    Anyway, I do hope you’ll give the book a shot sometime.

  3. Eric,

    Thank you. Remind me to like you more than I already do. 🙂

    Ed, Die in a fire. *kicks shin*:)

    I too, will buy the novel. Just to read it.

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