The Watchmen

Most of us have ridden on an airplane. We climb aboard these agglomerations of steel and wires, dials and levers. We assuage our fears, telling ourselves we will not suffer the fate of Icarus. His wings were made of wax, while we are mesmerized by the sheer incomprehensible nature of the airplane. And, even if we did understand, it would look great on paper. Our faith is based in the pure lunacy of planes: tons upon tons of metal defying gravity. We become invulnerable through mysterious cogs enigmatically falling into place.


But, before we climb aboard, we’re in the airport. These strange arenas are filled with indifferent fluorescent lights and impersonal pleather seats. We find ourselves there at the most curious hours. Janitors in blue aprons are constantly sanitizing, but it never feels clean. We pass through metal detectors, the roman arches of our civilization that promise absolution and inviolability. Yet, airports never feel safe. They’re foreign, completely void of meaning and place.


Prior, we say our goodbyes before TSA employees with dull eyes and sewn on badges. On occasion, this will be a final parting. I never know how I should or how I am going to act. In a universe of infinite possibilities, what guiding force has put these people in our paths? How is it possible we found these fantastic people that change and hearten our lives only to leave them in such a dreary locale? Though the universe is infinite, we leave on these times knowing we’ll never see these people again. Not really, at least. Maybe you’ll cross paths, you can hope. But, you’ll know that it can’t be the same.


For me, these moments are accompanied by a jumble of emotions. There’s mourning and laughter, terror and awe. Sometimes I try to choke out bad jokes. Other times, I’ll try the stoic route, “Well, I’m off.” There’s this bizarre cathartic fear.


This is what I first thought after watching The Watchmen.


Many of you will watch this movie and leave thinking: “hee-hee, blue dick;” “who were those actors in that long movie;” or “I don’t get it.”


Others will think: Fincher had better FX; Van Sant’s was more real; or Boyle made a much better movie. Fuck, a lot of people are going to say “Rorschach sounds like Batman,” “no one was nearly as good as Ledger in Batman,” and “I would have rather rewatched Batman.”


Well, in the words of Colonel Custer, You can S my D.


Without Watchmen, the Dark Knight never would’ve come to be. Think of any comic book movie you like. Without the Watchmen graphic novel, it’s improbable any of them would exist.


In the 80’s, comic books were about to die. The golden age of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, Batman and Superman were over. Comics became the lowest form of geek masturbatory material. The cheap dots and primary colors were passé. The industry was floundering.


Then, one man dared to dream of the most fuckin’ insanely awesome story to be told in sequential images. There is no end to the greatness of this graphic novel. We’re talking waking-up-one-morning-with-a-supermodel-in-your-bed-that-just-so-happens-to-be-a-moon-crater-because-guess-what-you-have-a-second-home-on-the-moon-which-seems-like-it-might-be-a-pain-in-the-horse’s-butt-but-you-are-so -badass-you-can-fly-to-the-moon-and-it-aint-no-big-thang kind of awesome. Respect.


Watchmen is not going to win any awards.


But, you get to see them breathe. Am I happy or am I sad? I don’t know. Probably both. Short of them coming to life, a part of me had to say goodbye.


For the True Believer, this is a must. Also, it’s 6:23 AM, and I’ve stayed awake to scrawl out some sort of review.


12 responses to “The Watchmen

  • peaceelrring

    Strange kind of a review indeed. I agree Watchment was one of the basics of comics’ history.
    By the way, here is something quite funny about the watchmen that I discovered thanks to

    Check out: (click on watch this movie)

  • Bob

    Ha! That link was great.

    Enjoyable review, as well, Max. You never disappoint. Haven’t seen the film yet. Haven’t read it either, to be honest. I’m hearing I need to read before I see on this one.

  • Max

    Yeah, admittedly, I was kind of drunk while writing this. Still, I stand behind what I said.

  • peaceelrring

    Well this is some performance. I invent a new language every time I write something while being drunk! :p

  • Max

    When I said I was drunk, I meant that I was drunk with passion.

    It should be noted that Tess saw this movie today. She recommends it.

    Also, when I said I was drunk, I meant I was drunk.

  • peaceelrring

    So drunkness utterly drove your words!

  • Max

    Hmm, it’s more of a “if people liked it, i’ll take the credit. if people don’t, it’s not my bad, and they’re jerks.”

  • evan

    “Without Watchmen, the Dark Knight never would’ve come to be. Think of any comic book movie you like. Without the Watchmen graphic novel, it’s improbable any of them would exist.”

    sorry max, i don’t mean to be too contrary, but i’ve gotta strongly disagree with that.

    but anyways, regardless of how amazing and influential the graphic novel was, the movie was a pretty big let down for me. personally, i think snyder totally screwed this one up, as faithful as the movie was to the GN. and malin akerman (laurie) can’t act.

  • mcdufrechou

    “Without Watchmen, the Dark Knight never would’ve come to be. Think of any comic book movie you like. Without the Watchmen graphic novel, it’s improbable any of them would exist.”

    I would like to elaborate. I did not mean that The Dark Knight movie owed its existence to the Watchmen movie. I meant that the comic book industry owes its existence to the Watchmen graphic novel.

    Watchmen is/was the comic book messiah. There are two ways of dating comic books: 1. the decade it was printed i.e. Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze, Modern, etc. 2. P.W. and A.W., pre-watchmen and after-watchmen. The industry’s use of this latter system of dating is just an example of how important it is.

    Though dating back to the ‘funny pages,’ what we consider comic books came about in ’39 and the forties with the titles Action comics (Superman) and Detective comics (Batman). They were rejected by the newspapers and became their own medium. Their success was immediate.

    Then, in ’49 a psychologist name Wertham came on the scene, denouncing comics as ruining youths. Then he wrote ‘Seduction of the Innocent,’ which had devastating effects. Comics books were heavily censored and close to banned in Canada, and there were mass comic book burnings in the States. The Senate made a committee that instigated the CCA, the comics code authority. Comics became heavily censored.

    It became hard to publish comics involving crime, preterhuman powers, and violence. Comics sucked. D.C. and Marvel were able to stick around, meekly struggling. Most other companies went under.

    Slowly, comics were able to reintroduce superheroes, under the purview of the CCA. They still blew chunks and the industry was constantly laboring to survive under the CCA.

    This was the status quo till 1971, when Marvel released an issue of Spiderman. In the comic book, spiderman busted a drug dealer’s chops. The CCA didn’t allow it, but Marvel printed it anyway. With public support the CCA amends it rules to allow a bit more, as long as a righteous message was still present.

    People were getting insanely tired, with all the rules comics were boring and constant re-hashes of permitted themes. It looked like D.C. might not survive the 80s as well as Marvel.

    Then, in ’86, there was Watchmen. It broke every single rule there was. It was deconstructionist. The colors were insane. The story was violent and melancholy. It became the most successful comic book ever.

    It started the ‘Graphic Novel,’ the collection of several issues. It was the first and only comic book to be put on the times, entertainment, and new york times best book lists. It changed everything. It saved the industry.

    It is not just influential. It’s the seminal comic book.

    The dark themes present in The Dark Knight film are equal parts Moore and Miller.

    What does this have to do with the quality of the film? Absolutely nothing.

    It was an impossible task for it to transfer mediums, hence the whole rights being juggled around since the 90s. But, yeah, I’d agree that it could have been transferred better.

    Quality of the film aside, I liked it solely because I got to see the characters in human form.

    Evan, i’m not trying to blast you out of the water with such a long response. I only want to argue the importance of the graphic novel. I think it’s a highly defensible position that comic book stories are where they are today because of Watchmen, assuming they would even exist without it.

  • evan

    no worries. i’m not much of a comic book buff so your response was really a great read for me. i totally agree with you on the greatness and importance of the watchmen graphic novel, i just think crediting it with the dark knight’s existence is a stretch, despite it having some similar themes (i’m admittedly kind of a dark knight fanboy though).

    it was nice to see all the characters come to life, but most of them were just upsetting for me. but i did really like rorschach. jackie earle haley was amazing. best part of the movie for me.

  • Bob

    This is actually Jacob, Bob’s in the bathroom. I have no intention of seeing this movie, and I’ve never read the novel. But this is the only real review I’ve ever read, of anything.

  • Korn

    I thought your review was good, Max.

    I don’t know how many people thought that this was going to be a quality film, regardless of how accurate to the novel it could be, but I definitely wasn’t one of them. I haven’t seen the movie (but I have read the novel) and although numerous word-of-mouth reviews have given it a thumbs down, I’ll probably see it, if only once. I suppose, if I crave quality Watchmen again, I can always re-read the novel (with the memory of flattened beer bottle caps, a Leatherman, and Max’s one-summer apartment in mind).

    P.S. I wish I could write such intelligible words while drunk.

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