The film alters our past, it is 1985 and masked vigilantes are now outlawed after a period in which they were honored as heroes. At the beginning of the movie we are given all the context clues we are going to need to understand the underlining ideas and concepts of the film. Oh yeah, for those who want to know what the story is about, at the beginning of the film one of the masked vigilantes is brutally beaten up and thrown out of a window. Even though vigilantes are outlawed one is still practicing his calling, he is a bit of a sociopath and his pursuit for justice and truth borders insanity, his name is Rorschach. Rorschach is convinced (after one murder) that someone out there is hunting down all the retired vigilantes. The reason? He believes that the unknown villain is planning something huge and wants to make sure that all the heroes of the world are not present to give him or her any troubles. Just in case you are wondering, I definitely got my Phix.
The Beginning of the Film
What you must understand from the beginning is that this film is much more complex than any other superhero movie out there. Did you read what was tagged in the window that was being broken in slow motion? “Who watches the watchers?” Which is a burning question to anyone who lives under a state that employs authority figures. Our country does that and we have seen our share of police brutality and abuse, something about authority messes with people. Who watches the watchers implies much more than just the idea of police brutality because even with Internal Affairs, who are the cops watching the cops, we are still left with the same question: who is watching the watchers of the watchers and so on and so forth. Why is anarchy such an enticing idea? Because people have a hard time trusting anyone, but why? Could it be that we are able to put ourselves in their position and realized that we ourselves are not trustworthy? That we would become evil, or abusive? Is that the reason we cannot trust authority? They are the reflection of our weakness.
There are jabs against discrimination, mainly homosexuality which is also an important thing to discuss, the brutality brought upon homosexuals was grotesque. Why was it so brutal? Murder is wrong in all senses of the word but you can see when a murder has been taken to another level. What was brought upon the victims was an act of hate, the murder was done to a degree above human understanding? Why hate a lifestyle? Is it the same thing, could it be that what they are hating is the reflection that is staring right back at them?
One last, and quite important component that should be brought up is the obvious replica of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ but this time it is done by the superheroes themselves. It looked quite beautiful too. The film has religion written all over and this is just the first sign, the other obvious one was placed as a religious song during a scene of sexuality. Although religious people should not be offended, was sex not a creation of the creator? I guess one can argue that the ‘wrongness’ of the scene through a religious perspective is that the two who are engaging in this act are not married therefore committing adultery rather than marital intercourse.
This man is insane, he is a sociopath, he is obsessive, paranoid and yet he is the only representative of true justice, honesty, and truth in this film…how is that possible? This where the Dark Knight went wrong, they should have played on Batman’s obsession with true justice but they didn’t and Rorschach beat them to the punch. We learn of Rorschach’s beginnings, he used to be a caring man who only wanted to justice, he would find a criminal and send him to jail until one day, the day he met a monster. A man who raped, killed and fed the remains of a little girl to his dog. Did this man care about his actions? He did not, it was in that moment, that was the moment that Rorschach stared at evil in the eye and understood that evil must be vanquished not tried. Rorschach is the kind of man who would tell the truth even if it meant the destruction of the world. Which of course is evident at the end of the film and the reason that Rorschach could not be allowed to live any longer.
The comedian is the only person in the film that was destroyed because he cares so much about people. We meet the comedian when he’s already become the mirror of the world he see’s, he has become evil, indifferent, violent, and uncaring. To the Comedian everything is a big joke, there is no point of fighting bad guys, bad guys are just a matter of perspective. The Comedian saw what humanity does with freedom and it is sadly something that is not as ideal as one would have hoped. If you give power, money, and resources would people really turn those gifts into something that would better humanity or will they turn it into something that benefits only themselves? To the Comedian, what makes up our hearts is something dark we just like to coat it with pretty ideas.
The only true superhero in the film, his name echoes the Manhattan Project which of course we know is the reason why we had Atomic Power which of course has now been upgraded to Nuclear Power. Dr. Manhattan was created like all those other superheroes are created, some kind of mutation but what he became is nothing short of a God. That is exactly what he represents, he see’s all time simultaneously which makes the present a lot less important. He knows what he is, even a God is a puppet with the strings. A beautiful line describes him and the way he see’s the world perfectly: “I am only a puppet who can see the strings.” We are characters in a book we have not read while he is a character in a book he is reading. Who is the author? Does this being have control over what it writes or is he or she a puppet as well?
He is called a genius, he is called a Communist and in essence he is because he understands that people are not meant to be exploited but he also knows that the hearts of man are weak. He knows that the weak are only weak because of their predicament, he knows that if given the opportunity they would be just as evil as their oppressors. His ultimate goal is the ultimate testament to humanity and it relies on what the Christian God did, well all Gods for that matter. How do you unite people? How do people settle their differences? How do you create peace? Doing exactly what God did, create a greater threat, create the Devil. Ozymandias did the same thing, to a world torn by differences and who dared to toy with the possibility of Nuclear warfare, he gave them Dr. Manhattan. Dr. Manhattan was not aware of this plan but understood his victory, he did not approve nor did disapprove because Ozymandias had succeeded. He blew up major sectors of the world using Dr. Manhattan’s energy, killed millions but the world had united once again to battle Dr. Manhattan…peace has been reached.