- Analysis of the Book
The main premise of this graphic novel series is that even those who seem wonderful and without flaws are human too, which means they are not perfect. The super heroes featured in the graphic novel all have their own strengths which makes them seem flawless and better than regular humans, though this series delves in the super heroes lives and minds to show that they have fears and weaknesses too. Rorschach, for example, has the ability of anonymity through the ever-shifting patterns on his mask and inherently is uncompromising in his thoughts on right and wrong and while these may be good characteristics for a super hero in a perfect world where right and wrong are clear-cut than he would be a perfect hero. His strengths work against him, showing that in a realistic world being super doesn’t mean you’re perfect. This idea of a superhero as a real person in a realistic world shows that even the people who are supposed to be perfect have flaws which culminates in Rorschach’s death.
- Analysis of the Movie
The Watchmen film uses very graphic and high contrast images to show the vast differences and extremes between all the main characters as well as the high tension times when the plot was set to mimic the tension of a possible Nuclear war.
The Comedian is both hated and loved by his fellow Watchmen for his complete disregard for all seriousness when coming to matters with high consequences like societal problems from a possible war and his satire and irony become coping mechanisms the same way that Rorschach uses his uncompromising morals to reason with his killing sprees. The movie focuses on giving a realistic experience for the audience to recognize how extreme emotions or being fueled by only one emotion can become an obsessive behavior that becomes dangerous. The realism of the movie, its setting, and its characters is used to show that these kind of extreme situations breed extreme people who are not suitable for everyday existence, social interactions, or living productive and happy lives due to overt amounts of stress.
- Analysis of the Adaptation
The biggest difference between the comic and the film versions of Watchmen was the exclusion of the “Black Freighter” storyline in the film which added immense depth and perspective to the novel as it became a comic within a comic. The gravity of losing this storyline is that it parallels a lot of the events and characters within the Watchmen plot. Specifically for Ozymandias’ backstory and personality since it becomes obvious during one of his dream sequences that the main character and him share their regrets. With this information Ozymandias becomes much more human, relatable, and allows the audience to be empathetic with him instead of lumping him into a purely evil category. The entire lot of the original storyline in the novel and the focus of the film even, is to show that the most powerful people in society can have downfalls and weaknesses and have very human qualities about them which make them weak, and without the clear connection to this subplot in Watchmen Ozymandias loses the ability to be empathized with like the rest of the characters allow the audience to do. While the film shows how powerful people can have weaknesses and flaws and both show the humanity within these superhuman, the “Black Freighter” subplot shows the person behind the villain of the storyline which is necessary to make the world of the Watchmen believable.
This source argues that the symmetry within the layout and drawing of the graphic novel and most importantly the symmetry in the plot hows a pattern that is easy to pick up on for the audience and the repetition is provides unifies the plot and makes its meaning easier to access.
This source is a review which analyzes the sociopolitical effects of America during the time the novel and film were set in Watchmen and how the real life events effect the the way the plot is received and perceived.
This source speaks about the realistic setting for which the novel and film take place and how the nihilism and real world events such as the threat of Nuclear war add to the audiences experience. This blog post argues that the real world setting for these characters along with the real world events effect the way the audience relates with the characters and because the readers/watchers can put themselves in the characters positions and imagine living in a world where these threats are present, like a Nuclear war between Russia and the U.S. the audience is more involved with the story and characters. The engagement with the story shows the audience that even these superheroes have problems like regular people.
- Critical Argument
For most, having the Watchmen actually be the superheroes society would rely on for protection does not sound particularly appealing because all of the members of this group are extreme examples of very human problems. The realism expressed with the characters living in an era that people today can still relate to with real world problems such as nuclear war creates the effect that these superheroes could exist in society today, which makes there extreme personalities and flaws even more concerning. The theme of both the novel and the film is that people with immense power can still fall into the same fears and weaknesses that regular people can which is why its is no important that the characters are just extreme examples of very human emotions like The Comedian being a nihilistic approach to problems showing that he has lost hope, Rorschach represents people who are uncompromising in their beliefs to the point that they are always agitated and hazardous, Dr. Manhattan is the loss of self-worth which results in his being a puppet for the government for most of the film, Ozymandias is uncompromising like Rorschach, but due to a superiority complex making him think he knows what is best for everyone and Silk Spector is the feminist woman who wants to stand up for herself, but stays in a relationship where she is devalued showing a lack of self confidence. All these emotions and feelings are ingrained in the human experience though each character is fueled by one emotion in the extreme, making them all very dangerous people to have power and ultimately not super suitable superheroes.